[Ads-l] Kettling

Mark Mandel markamandel at GMAIL.COM
Sat Jun 6 20:18:11 UTC 2020


What Is Kettling?
This controversial police tactic is appearing in cities across the United
June 5, 2020

On Tuesday evening, as a large group of peaceful protesters marched over
the Manhattan Bridge, members of the New York Police Department parked on
opposite ends of the span, trapping 5,000 people over the water for nearly
an hour. The night before, in Dallas, police officers corralled protesters
on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge before arresting 674 of them (they were
released later that night, with ‘at-large charges’ for ‘blocking
traffic’). That same night in Washington, D.C., police officers drove
protesters into a crowded intersection of Swann and 15th NW with teargas.
All over the country this week, police officers have surrounded
protesters—and then refused to let them leave.

This tactic is called kettling, a word you might have seen popping up in
social media posts from and about the protests. The term evokes a boiling
tea kettle, but it actually comes from a German military term referring to
an army that’s completely surrounded by a much larger force. “Kettling is a
law enforcement tactic specifically applied when the police have chosen to
criminalize existence in public spaces,” says Blake Strode, Executive
Director of ArchCity Defenders, a legal advocacy group that has handled
kettling cases in St. Louis. “So separate and apart from who is caught in
them and how people are impacted, which is all true and well-stated, it is
also fundamentally about police dictating whom is allowed to be where and

Ostensibly a form of riot control, kettling occurs when police officers
block off streets and push people into confined areas, like a city block or
a bridge. While protest and riot management traditionally focuses on
dispersing crowds, kettling is all about containment. When you’re kettled,
you have no access to bathrooms, very little space, and no place to go.
Critically, no one gets to leave until the police say so. “Basically, it’s
a pressure cooker without a valve,” said civil rights attorney Javad
Khazaeli, ArchCity Defenders’ co-counsel on kettling cases.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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