Dr. John Noakes, interim director of the School of Education, has spent his career analyzing the relationship between protestors and police officers, and the social contract between the state and political dissent. As protests continue around the country, the internationally known scholar on the policing of political protests has been featured by prominent national and international media outlets including ABC News and the Toronto Star.
In June 1 articles by FiveThirtyEight and The Marshall Project, Dr. Noakes discussed how escalating police force leads to more violence, not less. In a June 2 “What Went Wrong?” blog post, Dr. Noakes was quoted on the history of how police handle crowded protests. On June 3, the Toronto Star published an article about the use of barricades in protests, and how they can backfire:
“It’s much more volatile,” Noakes said, noting that the focus of protests often becomes whatever kind of barrier is placed between protesters and the subject of their protest — so if it is a fence, then protests will symbolically become focused on the fence. If the barrier is human, in the form of a line of heavily armed police, then they become the focus. And unlike fallible human beings, he noted, “Fences don’t make mistakes.”
On June 6, Dr. Noakes was quoted on how escalating police force at protests leads to more violence in an ABC News article. Then, on June 11 an article was published by Virginia Pilot and Stars and Stripes about the history of police responses to protests and riots.