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Carnegie Mellon Police Chief Expects Peaceful Protest Next Sunday
by Quinten Saturday, Jan. 18, 2003 at 3:16 PM
quinten@andrew.cmu.edu (email address validated) Oakland

In an interview Friday afternoon, Chief of Carnegie Mellon Police Creig Doyle talks about the upcoming anti-war protests.

Carnegie Mellon Poli...
010906_doyle.jpg, image/jpeg, 200x308

In an interview Friday, Carnegie Mellon Chief of Police Creig Doyle said that "No harm, no foul" would be his guiding principle during large-scale protests next Sunday at Carnegie Mellon's Software Engineering Institute (SEI).

"Everything that we've heard to date makes me believe that the protests will be peaceful," he added.

Area activists with the Pittsburgh Organizing Group and Garfield-based Thomas Merton Center have planned a series of anti-war events for the weekend of January 24-26, centered in Oakland.

Protest organizers have said they expect the last day of the protests -- Sunday -- to end in non-violent civil disobedience at the SEI. The building was chosen because of the military contracts it receives, said Pittsburgh Organizing Group representative Toni Bartone. "We believe that by targeting the SEI, we can disrupt the war machine right in our backyard."

Thomas Merton Center director Tim Vining in a press conference on Monday said that over a hundred area residents have already pledged to participate in the acts of civil disobedience.

According to Doyle, although the entire police force will not be mobilized
during the weekend, a larger force will be present, focused on monitoring campus property. That force will include all commanding officers.

Unless something is going wrong, you probably won't even see us," said Doyle. Wooden barricades will be placed before the entrance to the SEI, however.

Doyle, who himself protested the Vietnam War during his days as a student at Catholic University in DC, said he recognized the frustration protestors would feel if they were not allowed to exercise their free speech rights in the way that they had planned.

"We have just one restriction," said Doyle. "Don't hinder access to campus buildings.... and as long as there is no damage to or destruction of campus property, we'll be fine."

History is repeating for Doyle, who said that having to defend the war on Iraq left him with an "inner tension." In 1969, he marched with Vietnam War protestors as a student peace marshall. In 1970, he was being trained at the Police Academy, and in '71 he was on the other side of the fence during the Mayday demonstrations that brought 10,000 arrests in DC. He said that he remembered having good conversations as he spent 18 hours without break with the students who had been arrested.

Chief Doyle made it clear that his police department would not have the same difficulties as DC's Metropolitan Police Department did in September, when demonstrators, reporters and bystanders alike were swept up and arrested during meetings of the International Monetary Fund, with as many as 80 Pittsburghers among them. The Metropolitan Police Department currently faces civil action as a result of those arrests, which many charge were unlawful.

Doyle said that he became "very familiar" with the protocol that police must follow before arrests in a protest as an officer in the 1970's, including notifying the protestors of the specific policy or law they are breaking and allowing them to cease before making an arrest.

The weather may make Chief Doyle's job easier. Doyle said that in his experience, the length of these protests is "determined by what the weather's like." Even though Doyle said the releases he's seen to-date make it clear that protestors will be prepared with warm clothing, he expects that Sunday's forecast of snow might make the protest a little shorter.

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Photo credit: Carnegie Mellon News.

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