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Image: AFP Photo / Mira Oberman / RFT

The sight of Chicago police raising billy clubs against demonstrators was the kind of image that has dogged the city’s police force longer than most of those who clashed with protesters have been alive.

“I think they helped their reputation,” said Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor. “Generally speaking, the CPD seemed to exercise an extraordinary amount of restraint.”

From what can be assessed from publically available accounts, officers only used their batons in face-to-face confrontations with protesters pushing against police lines, what McCarthy called “assaults” on his officers. They used bicycles, both to escort protesters and as portable barricades. They employed intelligence gathering, starting long before the summit. That led to the arrests of five men on terror-related charges — including three accused of making Molotov cocktails in a plot to attack President Obama’s campaign headquarters and other targets — days before the summit started.

Chicago police spokeswoman Carolyn Deming said late Monday that 90 people were arrested and eight officers were injured before and during the summit. Authorities said many of those arrested were released without charges being filed.

Perhaps most significantly was the way officers handled alleged troublemakers. McCarthy said the officers were training to “surgically extract” individuals who broke the law in a way that disrupted crowds as little as possible — in contrast to confronting entire crowds as the department had done in the past.

Read the rest of Don Babwin’s Associated Press article here.

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