In May of 1920 union violence during a coal strike left seven private security detectives dead and three local people including the local mayor. The police chief was involved in the shooting on the side of the local miners. At the time private detective agencies often were employed by companies that needed protection from striking workers. Local police forces were often too small to do the job alone. Local police and these detectives were often on opposite sides.
In difficult times people will sometimes go on strike or protest various work and economic issues. It is the duty of the police to keep order, but not their duty to take sides in labor and political disputes. It is the duty of the police to enforce the law. When unions or companies act outside the law, then it is the duty of the police to make arrests, restore order and write complete reports. Too often in these major incidents, reports were poorly written, investigations were incomplete and most of these murders did not result in convictions.
In the event of significant labor unrest in your jurisdiction, it is important to flood the location with officers. It takes a lot of police to keep two groups apart and to watch a large group of unruly people. Police leadership should meet privately with the leaders of both groups and encourage them to make public statements that unequivocally renounce violence. Officers need to video tape any large rallies so that the start of any violence can be determined. Taping should be done in the open in public areas. Officers must stay impartial in these types of incidents; that’s what the SGT Says.