• 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

  • Politics

    Gov. Walker to attend Trump inauguration

    by Liz Raines on Jan 18, 20:55

    Gov. Bill Walker will be among the governors in attendance at the presidential inauguration on Friday. The Republican-turned-Independent did not make public his support for candidates in the 2016 presidential campaign. Katie Marquette, spokesperson for Walker, said that as an Independent governor, Walker is committed to working with any presidential administration for the good of […]

  • News

    Bethel police: Napaskiak man dies from injuries sustained in snowmobile crash

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 18, 20:13

    A Napaskiak man died after a snowmobile crash on Friday morning, Bethel police report. The Bethel Police Department announced the death of 28-year-old James Joekay Jr. in a Facebook post about the crash. BPD and the local fire department responded to a report about the crash around 8:30 a.m., police wrote. They found Joekay with his snowmobile […]

  • Weather

    Temperatures drop to record levels, school canceled

    by Melissa Frey on Jan 18, 20:11

    As temperatures dropped Wednesday, new records were set in Alaska. Most of the Interior dropped to 50 to 60 below zero, including McGrath, which saw some of the coldest temperatures in five years. The official thermometer dropped to 53 degrees below zero, cold enough to cancel school. The principal of the school said 50 below […]

  • Lifestyle

    Providence hospital first in Alaska to install NICU webcams

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jan 18, 19:40

    Parents who’ve had a baby spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of a hospital often say how difficult it is to be separated from their child, even for a short period of time. That’s one of the reasons Providence Alaska Medical Center has become the first hospital in the state to install live-streaming […]

  • News

    Maintenance crews dig out thousands of hydrants after snowstorm

    by Heather Hintze on Jan 18, 19:08

    Maintenance crews are digging out thousands of fire hydrants after the weekend snowstorm. Alaska Water and Wastewater Utility (AWWU) is responsible for clearing about 7,400 hydrants around the Anchorage Bowl. Journeyman Marshall Kennon said he can shovel out up to 50 hydrants a day. That involves clearing a 6-foot diameter around the hydrant, then checking […]

  • Politics

    Watch Live: Gov. Walker gives 2017 State of the State address

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jan 18, 18:40

      State of the State Address Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. Watch live coverage of Gov. Bill Walker’s remarks from the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau. (Video will begin shortly before 7 p.m.) Web stream provided by 360 North/Gavel Alaska.  

  • Sports

    Grades cost 2 UAA Seawolves the rest of the women’s basketball season

    by Dave Leval on Jan 18, 18:23

    The University of Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball team is in Seattle. However, two players did not make the trip with the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) leaders who will play at rival Seattle Pacific University Thursday. Their seasons are done. Junior guard Kaitlyn Hurley and junior forward Dominique Thomas have been declared academically ineligible by the […]

  • Grunwald case suspect now faces federal child porn charges

    by Shannon Ballard on Jan 18, 17:00

    Devin Peterson’s long list of child pornography-related charges has grown to include two federal charges. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because the 18-year-old is one of the five Valley teens arrested in connection with David Grunwald’s murder. Alaska State Troopers seized Peterson’s phone during that investigation and found a disturbing video that could send […]