• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 34s

After Ferguson, APD chief outlines difference between protests and riots

By KTVA CBS 11 News 11:47 AM August 27, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

The recent shooting death of an unarmed teen by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri sparked protesting, rioting and looting in the streets. The incidents led to a massive police presence to help keep the peace.

Police Chief Mark Mew joined Daybreak Wednesday morning for the August edition of “Cup with the Chief” to talk about how the Anchorage Police Department would handle this type of situation.

Mew wants everyone to understand that there is a significant difference between a protest and a riot.

“A protest is an organized event,” he said. “It’s a group of people that have a grievance of some kind. They’re trying to make a point. They have a leader. They have an objective. Most of the time they have a permit or some notion of what the law requires them to do and where the boundaries are between legal and illegal behavior.”

According to the chief, APD has worked with protest organizers in the past, sometimes well in advance of a protest.

“We engage with their leadership,” Mew said. “We know what they’re about, we talk about how the rules of engagement will go. We figure out how to work with them.”

But protests can transform into riots when infiltrated by external forces, the chief says. Mew says he believes this can happen when people arrive from outside the city. Those people may try to “steal the protest” and turn it into a riot.

“We try to work together with protest organizers to figure out how to prevent that from happening,” Mew said. “Then we try to identify those infiltrators and remove them from the equation. We’re really there to keep the peace and help the protestors get what they want accomplished and not have crimes committed.”

The chief described a riot as “anarchy,” characterized by no leader and no objective. If a protest were to escalate, he says, APD would handle a riot with a tactical response. The degree of the response would depend on the degree of the threat. How much property is being destroyed and how many lives are being threatened are taken into consideration, he says.

“We would try to handle it with as little force as possible,” Mew said. “We do have SWAT teams, we do have equipment and larger ways of delivering force, but we don’t take that stuff lightly. We’re not the type of department that’s going to bring all that stuff out and show it off to send some sort of message.”

Mew outlined police protocol in riot situations. First, the department would assign smaller details to individual hot spots. If the situation goes on for days or gets too big to handle, APD would then set up an emergency operation center. Then, there may be declarations the mayor or governor would make. Afterward, the police department might request assistance from resources such as the National Guard.

Latest Stories

  • News

    Alaskans testify on proposed budget

    by Lauren Maxwell on May 22, 17:48

    Alaskans got a chance to sound off on the state budget Friday, and many say they hoped state legislators were listening. The House Finance Committee held a public hearing on the latest budget proposal, House Bill 2001. Restoring funding cuts to public education was one theme heard repeatedly. Majority Republicans and Minority Democrats in the House […]

  • Lifestyle

    Heroin Hits Home: “If you see something, say something”

    by Daysha Eaton / KYUK Radio on May 22, 16:59

    This story originates from KYUK Public Media and was published with permission. BETHEL — Federal officials say they intercepted nearly ten times as much heroin coming into Alaska in 2014 than compared to 2013. State law enforcement officials say heroin gets into Bethel mainly on low-security, small airline passenger flights. This is the final story in a […]

  • Crime

    Mother pleads not guilty to assaulting child on plane

    by Associated Press on May 22, 15:49

    A mother is pleading not guilty to allegations that she physically and verbally assaulted her 15-month-old daughter during an Alaska Airlines flight from Anchorage, Alaska, to Honolulu. A criminal complaint says Samantha Leialoha Watanabe cursed at the toddler, smacked her in the back of the head, pinched her and pulled out bits of her hair […]

  • News

    Gov. signs second disaster declaration as flooding keeps Dalton Highway closed

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 22, 15:42

    After declaring a state disaster in April over unprecedented flooding on the Dalton Highway, Gov. Bill Walker signed a second disaster proclamation Friday in Deadhorse for the entire North Slope Borough. In a statement issued Friday by the Governor’s Office, Walker elaborates on why the second declaration is needed: “I issued my first disaster declaration […]

  • Lifestyle

    Alaska tentative choice for long-range US radar system

    by Associated Press on May 22, 15:21

    The U.S. Department of Defense has tentatively identified an Air Force station in Alaska is its preferred location for a radar system to track airborne missile threats. Members of Alaska’s congressional delegation lauded the choice of Clear Air Force Station, near Anderson, in interior Alaska, as the potential location for the long-range radar system. U.S. […]

  • News

    Official: Seattle Shell protests caused environmental damage

    by Associated Press on May 22, 14:09

    An official with Washington state’s Department of Natural Resources says Seattle activists protesting Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic did some environmental damage to a popular dive park. KIRO radio reports (http://is.gd/5xaVyK) people left behind material they used to anchor their protest barge while kayakers protested last weekend near the Shell oil […]

  • News

    Investigation underway after Anchorage inmate dies

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on May 22, 12:15

    Alaska State Troopers are investigating an Anchorage inmate’s death. Alexis Hathaway, 26, was pronounced dead Thursday at 10:42 p.m., according to Sherrie Daigle, spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Corrections. Two nearby inmates told corrections officers Hathaway was having difficulty breathing about an hour before his death, Daigle said. Medics responded and Hathaway was taken to […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: Red Cap and the Cyser Boys

    by Daybreak Staff on May 22, 11:47

    Bringing Celtic sounds to Anchorage, Red Cap and the Cyser Boys are made up of members of the Richardson family: brothers Chris, Mike and Ben and their dad, better known as Grandpa Richardson, who has played the fiddle for more than 30 years. The family affair started when the brothers moved to Alaska in their […]