Policing Rival Protests

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Protests can be challenging for police even when only one protest group shows up. However, at rival protests, in which conflicting protest groups are present, the risk for violence and the challenge for police both increase dramatically. This chapter examines the policing of rival protests. It begins by summarizing research evidence on policing protests, with a focus on minimizing conflict and preventing violence and property damage. It then presents three examples of rival protests in the United States following the death of George Floyd in May of 2020. The analysis focuses on the behavior of protesters, counterprotesters, and police at these events. Drawing on lessons from these examples and research evidence on the policing of rival protests more generally, the chapter offers practical recommendations for policing these events. These recommendations are intended to help police facilitate the civil liberties of event participants while preserving and enhancing public safety and police legitimacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRethinking and Reforming American Policing
Subtitle of host publicationLeadership Challenges and Future Opportunities
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783030888961
ISBN (Print)9783030888954
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Aberdeen
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Boogaloo Bois
  • Charlottesville
  • Civil liberties
  • Civil rights
  • Counterprotesters
  • First Amendment
  • Freedom of assembly
  • Freedom of speech
  • George Floyd
  • Jacob Blake
  • Kalamazoo
  • Kenosha
  • Kenosha Guard
  • Kyle Rittenhouse
  • Legitimacy
  • Looting
  • Michigan People’s Defense League
  • Over-responding
  • Patriot Prayer
  • Police
  • Portland
  • Protest
  • Proud Boys
  • Public safety
  • Rioting
  • Rival protest
  • St. Paul’s riot
  • Under-responding
  • Unite the Right
  • Violence
  • White supremacists

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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