But the current approach that D.C. police take toward protests did not come about on its own. Instead, the more relaxed attitude is the result of investigations and litigation that came about after the Metropolitan Police Department employed a heavy-handed approach to various protests in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Ramsey, now Philadelphia’s police commissioner, led D.C. police in the early 2000s when officers inappropriately swept up protesters and bystanders en masse — actions that cost the city more than $20 million in legal settlements.
Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey, one of two co-chairs appointed by President Obama to head a commission on ways to demilitarize local police, is known for leading repeated bloody and abusive crackdowns on protesters.
“We were just dumbfounded when we heard they had chosen Chief Ramsey,” said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund
Ramsey is "synonymous with militarized and repressive policing. If this task force is under his command, it does not stand a chance of substantially changing the status quo."
Ms. Verheyden-Hilliard noted the difference between the Ferguson-related protests and some demonstrations in the last 10 years in which Metropolitan Police officers were more confrontational. She attributed the recent tolerance to safeguards put into place after years of lawsuits, including some brought by her organization, and to legislation to protect the rights of protesters.
Project Censored: FBI Dismisses Murder Plot against Occupy Leaders as NSA and Big Business Cracks Down on Dissent
Months later, Dave Lindorff reported for WhoWhatWhy, a document obtained in December 2012 from the Houston FBI office shows that the agency was aware of a plot to assassinate Occupy movement leaders—and did nothing about it.
Washingtonians are pushing back against suggestions that the U.S. Secret Service might make it harder for the public to get close to the White House.
Civil liberties advocates are sounding the alarm amid reports that federal authorities may impose new restrictions to public access around the White House in response to a security lapse last week that allowed a fence jumper to walk through the front door of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.