SURJ Greater Dayton’s de-escalation training is geared toward those joining an affiliation of civil rights groups that has planned for months to be opposite the Honorable Sacred Knights downtown.
“We want to be as supportive as possible to A Better Dayton Coalition and their leadership because it is such a risk they are taking by organizing this protest and putting themselves out there,” said Ri Molnar, a local SURJ leader.
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Molnar said the de-escalation training will empower people to make the right choice in a crisis by not allowing oneself to be provoked into a bad decision. It also stresses a buddy system approach.
A counter protester’s loud opposition to the Klan group, however fervent, should not be confused with escalation, Molnar said.
“I don’t think that there is any problem with someone being impassioned in their response to a domestic terrorist organization that has an historical legacy of lynching black men,” Molnar said. “We just want to make sure people have the resources they need to navigate that in a way that will end up the way that they want it to. And that is to be able to make the choices you want to make in the moment.”
The event marshal training Saturday will teach counter protesters their rights and how to “anticipate escalation from the police and strategize how to respond to that,” she said.
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SURJ has invited the National Lawyers Guild to monitor how police respond to protesters. If counter protesters are arrested, the attorneys will work to get unconstitutional charges dropped and make sure people spend the shortest amount of time in jail, Molnar said.
The U.S. Department of Justice in conjunction with the Dayton Community Police Council will provide event marshal training on May 22, three days before the Honorable Sacred Knights set up on Courthouse Square.
“This is an opportunity for lay citizens to receive training in how to implement some crowd control measures, how to be watchful, how to plan for in the event that something goes awry,” Grandy said.
Daedra A. Von Mike McGhee, a Justice Department conciliation specialist, will provide the training, though last month she told those in Dayton that the federal department’s recommendation was to ignore the Klan.
“Stay away,” she said. “But obviously if you choose to go, I still would not engage … There’s no way to engage peacefully or intellectually or any other way that would be positive for the community.”
Grandy said the last thing the community needs are news clips and viral videos of law officers detaining citizens protesting the rally.
“We just want to make sure people exercise their right to protest and assemble, but we want to make sure people stay safe, out of jail and off the news,” he said.
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While thousands might behave respectfully, the greatest worry might be a single agitator, Molnar said.
“Look at Charlottesville … there was loss of life. There are people who are living with disabilities from injuries,” she said. “That was just a lone agent who was inspired and encouraged by hate speech to go out an attempt mass murder.”
“So we are aware of the risks as we are going in to protest.”
Klan-prompted community meetings
Ask Dayton Police Department about rally safety
Dayton Community Police Council
Tuesday, May 14
Boys and Girls Club of Dayton
1828 W. Stewart St., Dayton
Showing Up for Racial Justice
Wednesday, May 15
McKinley United Methodist Church
196 Hawthorn St., Dayton
De-escalation and event marshal training
Showing Up for Racial Justice
Saturday, May 18
Belmont Branch of the Dayton Metro Library,
1041 Watervliet Ave., Dayton
Event marshal training
U.S. Department of Justice and Dayton Community Police Council
Wednesday, May 22
Central State West
840 Germantown St., Dayton