KCPD’s new approach at protests has calmed crowds, eased tension, protesters say

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As protests continue, tensions are starting to ease between protesters and police in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Police Department said its been taking a different approach in response to the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. 

They’ve been escorting the march, which is all we’ve asked them to do all along,” protester Sophia Flowers said. “We’ve been out there yelling. People have been angry, yes. But we’re also yelling, ‘Walk with us. Kneel with us. March with us.'” 

During first weekend of demonstrations, protesters were met with tear gas and pepper spray. Kansas City police said this was in response to the protests turning into unlawful assemblies.

KCPD Capt. David Jackson said officers are now focusing on containing and deescalating crowds. 

“But then, by Monday, we were able to kind of back off the line a few times,” Jackson said. “We were able to put up some tape and some barricades to shoot visual ways of where we want people to be as opposed to putting the police right up there on the protesters.” 

Protesters claim these new tactics are the main reason why things have remained calm this week. 

“As soon as they stopped escalating and began to adopt deescalation tactics, you saw a deescalation of violence,” protester Erik Crawford said. 

But both protesters and police will admit, their relationship is a work in progress.

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