What could else could go wrong with police protests?

Last Wednesday night, while most of us were prepping for turkey comas and football, hundreds of protesters gathered in Washington Square Park rally in support of activists in Minneapolis and Chicago. 

In Minneapolis, some of the young people who occupied parts of a local police precinct to protest the shooting of Jamar Clark were shot during a confrontation local authorities have said was racially motivated. In Chicago, thousands took to the streets after video of the shooting of Laquan McDonald was finally made public last week. 

Despite reform offerings, from city halls to the White House, of police body cameras and community policing, protesters aren’t going anywhere. The McDonald video, which came because of a FOIL request by a freelance journalist, showed 16 shots fired on a young black man holding a small knife, but who was not the threat that cops initially claimed he was. Video, again vital in countering official accounts, also was apparently the focus of police who may have tried erasing surveillance footage from a nearby Burger King, according a manager there.

Amid the national headlines brewing in Minneapolis and Chicago, a story from Sunset Park showed these themes also carry into New York City. In yet another police-related case in the Brooklyn neighborhood, officers called to break up a fight at an Ecuadorean restaurant apparently roughed up the owner’s son, who yelled at cops for kicking a handcuffed man. After a melee that ended with some eatery workers being charged, restaurant owners said cops returned to try to erase the eatery’s surveillance footage.

Even if one doesn’t like the term, how else do you describe what’s happening than a war?

There are bodies, bullets are flying, and there’s even a battle over information with cops allegedly seeking to scrub surveillance tapes. A mythical “Ferguson Effect” theory seeks to blame protesters for rises in crime — even as overall New York crime continues to go down — is given life by NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. More concerning is that the NYPD is toting heavy weaponry while policing protests as the new, somewhat mysterious Strategic Response Group makes its debut. 

What could go wrong?