The sight of Chicago police raising billy clubs against demonstrators at the NATO summit last weekend was the kind of image that has dogged the city’s police force for decades, says the Associated Press. But virtually no one was talking about a “police riot,” as they did in 1968 when baton-wielding officers entered crowds of demonstrators during the Democratic National Convention. Nor was there the kind of criticism at the Seattle police after a violence-plagued 1999 international summit.
Protest leaders where President Barack Obama met with world leaders offered a harsh assessment of police tactics. Most others praised the police for their restraint, and they performed mostly as Superintendent Garry McCarthy vowed they would, from their crowd-control tactics to their interactions with protesters. “We got them trained and equipped, and they executed the plan on all levels,” McCarthy said. In all, 90 people were arrested and eight officers were injured before and during the summit. “I think they helped their reputation,” said Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor. “Generally speaking, the CPD seemed to exercise an extraordinary amount of restraint.”