Policing protests when the protest is about police

At some demonstrations, police in SWAT gear wield batons or carry long guns as they patrol streets teeming with protesters.

Elsewhere, officers are seen mingling with demonstrators and even posing for selfies.

In this era of protest, which is the best way to protect both public safety and constitutional rights?

The public recently saw both approaches. Protesters in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where a man was pinned to the ground and shot to death by police outside a convenience store, were confronted by officers in riot gear. At a similar event in Dallas, police wore regular uniforms and moved easily among the demonstrators.

Adam Bates is a policy analyst at the Cato Institute. He says the police response to protesters goes to “the core, fundamental constitutional values of our society.”

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