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An exploration of social protests and policing

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An exploration of social protests and policing does social media undermine the message?
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Does social media undermine the message?
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Contreras, Nancy ( author )
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Denver, Colo.
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University of Colorado Denver
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English
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Master's ( Master of criminal justice)
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University of Colorado Denver
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School of Public Affairs, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Criminal justice

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Police-community relations ( lcsh )
Law enforcement -- Social networks ( lcsh )
Social media ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Few studies have explored the goals and means of recent protests that are calling attention to police use of force in marginalized communities. This research explores activist ideology, social media practices in organizing protests, and perceived community relations with law enforcement. Resource mobilization theory is applied to the current protest activities against police misconduct to describe the use of social media as a means to create social protest and reform. Internet-enhanced activism is analyzed to explain changes in the traditional responsibilities and contributions of activists, and to describe the negative impact the social media have on activism. In addition, moral panic is used as a theoretical framework to explain police-community relations. Discussion of the policy implications identifies the need for alternate ways of policing and judicial review of activists' rights in protest activities. The findings expand existing scholarship and are essential in establishing a rich narrative of how perceived and real injustice can be challenged through the perspectives of diverse community members.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
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System requirements: Adobe Reader.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Nancy Contreras.

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University of Colorado Denver Collections
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Auraria Library
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985621495 ( OCLC )
ocn985621495
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LD1193.P74 2016m C66 ( lcc )

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Full Text
AN EXPLORATION OF SOCIAL PROTESTS AND POLICING:
DOES SOCIAL MEDIA UNDERMINE THE MESSAGE?
by
NANCY CONTRERAS
B.S. in Criminal Justice, California Lutheran University, 2013 B.A. in Sociology, California Lutheran University, 2013
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Criminal Justice Criminal Justice Program
2016


This thesis for the Master of Criminal Justice degree by Nancy Contreras has been approved for the Criminal Justice Program by
Mary Dodge, Chair
Callie Rennison
Lucy Dwight
July 30, 2016
11


Nancy Contreras (M.C.J., Criminal Justice)
An Exploration of Social Protests and Policing: Does Social Media Undermine the Message? Thesis directed by Professor Mary Dodge
ABSTRACT
Few studies have explored the goals and means of recent protests that are calling attention to police use of force in marginalized communities. This research explores activist ideology, social media practices in organizing protests, and perceived community relations with law enforcement. Resource mobilization theory is applied to the current protest activities against police misconduct to describe the use of social media as a means to create social protest and reform. Internet-enhanced activism is analyzed to explain changes in the traditional responsibilities and contributions of activists, and to describe the negative impact the social media have on activism. In addition, moral panic is used as a theoretical framework to explain police-community relations. Discussion of the policy implications identifies the need for alternate ways of policing and judicial review of activists rights in protest activities. The findings expand existing scholarship and are essential in establishing a rich narrative of how perceived and real injustice can be challenged through the perspectives of diverse community members.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
111
Approved: Mary Dodge


DEDICATION
I dedicate my thesis to Mary Dodge, Ignacio Contreras, and my family. You empower me everyday to become a better scholar and person. Your support and constant encouragement continue to make a difference in my life.
Mary, I am eternally grateful that you became a part of my journey. You are a knowledgeable professor and an insightful advisor, which I admire. I am fortunate that you are my Gilbert Geis because you are my inspiration on my upcoming path towards a doctorate. The completion of this thesis would not have been possible without your mentorship.
Ignacio, you are a part of my life, and I know that my graduate school program became a part of your life as well. Thank you for your love, patience, and never-ending support that gave me the perseverance I needed to fulfill the requirements of my thesis.
To my family, thank you for always believing in me. Mom and Dad, you came to this country in search of a prosperous life, and my accomplishments are a result of the unimaginable risks you have taken. Brother, knowing that you are cheering me on motivated me to complete my thesis.
IV


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
This thesis would not have been possible without the guidance of my advisor, Mary Dodge. Thank you for your support in every aspect of my experience here at the University of Colorado Denver. Your passion in research incites in me an appreciation for qualitative methodology, which ultimately shaped the subject matter and methodology of my thesis.
Dr. Callie Rennison and Dr. Lucy Dwight thank you for serving on my committee. Callie, your insights and comments challenged me to think critically about social movements. The completion of my thesis would not have been possible without your valuable feedback. Lucy, thank you for your support throughout my graduate program. It was a pleasure being a student in your class. The discussions you facilitated contributed to the development of my thesis. I am also grateful that I have your support in pursuing a doctoral education.
Finally, I would like to thank all of the activists whose experience and perspectives contributed immensely to my research study. Their participation allowed me to learn about complex issues influencing police-community relations.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION........................................................... 1
II. LITERATURE REVIEW......................................................4
The Accumulation of Cases...............................................4
Historical Influence....................................................6
Moral Panic Framework...................................................7
Social Media Platforms.................................................11
Protest Activities.................................................... 13
Social Movement........................................................14
Resource Mobilization................................................. 16
Internet-Enhanced Activism.............................................20
Consequences of Internet-Enhanced Activism.............................23
III. METHOD...............................................................27
Sampling...............................................................27
Data Collection........................................................29
Non-Participant Observation.........................................29
Interview...........................................................29
Ethical Considerations..............................................31
Analysis...............................................................32
Data Analysis Procedures............................................32
Methods for Verification............................................32
Limitations.........................................................32
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IV. RESULTS
34
Versatility of Social Activism................................................ 34
Social Media Tools.............................................................35
Facebook...................................................................38
Twitter....................................................................38
Disadvantages..............................................................39
Community Awareness............................................................40
Unification and Destructiveness of Acts of Resistance..........................41
Unification................................................................42
Destructiveness............................................................44
Divisiveness Among Activist Groups.............................................46
Online Activist............................................................46
The Role of the White Activist.............................................48
Competition................................................................50
Age vs. Experience ........................................................50
Tactics....................................................................51
Ideologies................................................................ 53
(De)construction of Law Enforcement and Policing...............................54
Individual v. Institution................................................. 55
Accountability.............................................................56
Militarization Practices.................................................. 56
Perception of Policing in Communities of Color............................ 57
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Resistance
58
Changes in Practice.............................................59
V. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION..........................................61
Policy Implications.................................................63
Conclusion..........................................................65
REFERENCES...............................................................67
APPENDIX
A. Informed Consent...................................................72
B. Interview Protocol.................................................74
C. Dont Shoot Lyrics.................................................75
viii


LIST OF TABLES
TABLE
1. Most Common Uses of Facebook by Activists...................................38
2. Observed Acts of Resistance.................................................42
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CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
The criminal justice system grants law enforcement officers the power to employ discretion in their use of force. Law enforcement officials have the authority to use less than lethal or lethal force when they perceive an individual to be a threat at that specific moment. Current police use of force cases, combined with the publicity of social media, has led communities to believe that police officers are engaging in excessive use of force. Many online videos, tweets, Instagram, and Facebook postings are portraying police and public interactions that undermine confidence in law enforcement, and contribute to a high level of distrust on both sides.
During the Ferguson and Baltimore riots, for example, activists had the technology to record the militarized police practices and share their videos globally on social media. These perspectives helped generate solidarity and support for protests against police at a national and international level. The advancements in technology have facilitated the recording of police practices and the distribution of videos.
The role of activists has changed because of the different methods of participating facilitated by technology. There are increased opportunities for individuals associated with marginalized social groups to contribute to the various political movements and protests. Activists have multiple resources at their disposal. One controversy related to activism is whether a presence on social media represents true dedication to a movement because users lack the street credibility of physically participating in the community. Social media resources also enhance the way community groups organize when the planning takes place via the Internet, but the activists come together in person to execute their protests.
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When police officers confront activists in high-tension environments, problems often arise. Frustrated community members make the decision to do something to address the perceived unfair treatment of activists by police agencies. Community members join activist street efforts and mobilize to increase the number of people expressing their concerns about law enforcement. Media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, used by social activists disperse the videos and images of perceived police misconduct during protests and, consequently, communities trust in law enforcement is undermined. Confrontations between the police and community activists in cities across the country have become constant corporate media headlines.
The use of social media by activists is a recent development and an area that requires further research. Previous literature on social movements has analyzed the resources that activists have at their disposal. Social movement studies include a media and a communication perspective. This study is an exploration of social media and the perspectives of activists about their efforts to change interactions, in both positive and negatives way, with local law enforcement. The majority of previous studies on activism and social media focus on international social movements. In 2010, Chopae, an online community based in Korea, arose to terminate a conservative newspaper known for its bias by organizing through Twitter (Choi & Park, 2014). In 2011, the movement known as Arab Spring motivated several democratic uprisings in various countries (Gonzalez-Bailon, Borge-Holthoefer, & Moreno,
2013) . Media sources describe Arab Spring as the Facebook revolutions (Harlow & Guo,
2014) . In 2011, the Indignados (outraged) movement in Spain utilized Facebook and Twitter to mobilize (Gonzalez-Bailon et al., 2013). The current study is based on United States protest mobilization in Colorado.
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There are several questions that remain unanswered by previous research. How does social media influence activism? What are the dynamics between activists and police in the current movement? How do protest activities help or harm police-community relations?
The present research provides a qualitative contribution to literature related to how social media is used as a resource for protest activities that address police use of force. Moreover, the research explores the activists perspectives of protest activities in their communities using moral panic as a framework. The research employs qualitative methods (i.e., in-depth, semi-structured interviews and non-participant observation) to explore if social media undermines the messages of activists.
Chapter 2 includes a literature review of the moral panic framework, resource mobilization theory, social media platforms, social movements, and it also identifies cases where perceived excessive use of force has led to significant protest clashes with local police departments. Chapter 3 explains the exploratory methodology of the study in detail. Chapter 4 presents a thematic analysis of the original data. Finally, Chapter 5 identifies policy implications and the potential for future research.
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CHAPTER II
LITERATURE REVIEW
The Accumulation of Cases
On February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman, who participated in a volunteer neighborhood watch, fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a black 17 year-old in Florida. This event fueled the current movement against the criminal justice system in general because a jury acquitted George Zimmerman in 2013. The case generated the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag on social media and it became the new slogan of the movement against police use of force (Dahl, 2013). A hashtag is a keyword assigned to information that organizes information by topics or events on the Internet (Small, 2011).
On August 09, 2014, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown, an 18 year-old African American. Initial eyewitness testimony reported that Brown raised his hands to give up before he was shot. Further investigations by a grand jury and the Department of Justice found no evidence that supported these statements and the witnesses later recanted. In November 2014, a Missouri grand jury found insufficient evidence to issue an indictment of Wilson for the death of Michael Brown. Demonstrations and violent protests erupted in Ferguson, as well as in other major cities across the United States (Brown, 2015). The activists raised their hands and used the slogan, Hands Up, Dont Shoot in memory of Brown. In support of the demonstrations several hashtags were created including #HandsUpDontShoot and #JusticeForMikeBrown (O'Neil, 2014). The Missouri governor declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to help local law enforcement control the rioting (Brown, 2015).
In July 2014, New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo put Eric Garner, a 43
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year-old African American, in a chokehold for 15 seconds leading to his death. Civilians videotaped the incident. The case received little media attention until the grand jury decision was announced. On December 03, 2014, a grand jury in New York City decided not to indict officer Pantaleo for the death of Garner, and he became another face for the movement against police use of force (Newman, 2014). Activists took on another new slogan, I cant breathe, which became the trending hashtag #ICantBreathe, and #7minutes, describing the 7 minutes Garner was lying on the ground after the chokehold (DeHahn, 2014). These were the last words Garner said in the recorded videos (Newman, 2014).
In November 2014, two Cleveland, Ohio officers fatally shot Tamir Rice, a 12 year-old African American in a park. According to a reported 911 call, Rice had a gun. After the shooting, the officers discovered it was a gun replica (Brekke, 2015). This shooting further fueled the protests in Ferguson and in other parts of the country. The trending hashtag #ToMsRice was used by activists to offer condolences to Rices mother and express their commitment to the rising frustration with police use of force (King, 2015). Additionally, Rices age attracted enormous amounts of social media coverage because he was a child fatally shot by police officers (Brekke, 2015).
On January 26, 2015, two Denver police officers fatally shot Jessica Hernandez, a 17 year-old Latina, in a moving vehicle. This case spread through social media because Hernandez self-identified as a member of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, and Queer (LGBTQ) community (Gurman, 2015). The hashtag #Justice4Jessie was trending to spread awareness about this case (Presente.org, 2015). Additionally, her gender appeared to play a part in the outrage expressed by the community. Protests over police use of force continued in Denver and in other major cities (Gurman, 2015).
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On April 04, 2015, North Charleston police officer Michael Slager fatally shot Walter Scott, a 50 year-old African American. The difference in this case is that this incident in South Carolina was recorded on video and the officer was arrested on April 7th and charged with first-degree murder (Martinez, 2015). The hashtag #WalterScott was utilized on social media platforms to share the video of the shooting (Silverstein, 2015). The protest movement against police use of force celebrated the arrest on social media (Martinez, 2015).
On April 19, 2015, Baltimore police officers arrested Freddie Gray, a 25 year-old African American. During transportation, Gray alledgedly fell and injured his spinal cord. Gray went into a coma and was later pronounced dead. Violent protests took place and the governor declared a state of emergency and requested the National Guard intercede (Ortiz,
2015). Community members were using hashtags, such as #BaltimoreRiots and #BaltimoreUprising, to express their frustration with Grays death joining the numerous highly publicized cases where people of color became victims of lethal police use of force (Khan, 2016). On May 1, 2015, six officers were arrested on different charges (Ortiz, 2015). In June 2016, the trial of the first officer resulted in an acquittal and dozens of protestors expressed their frustration over the verdict. The remaining five officers still face charges and potential trials.
Historical Influence
People of color are survivors of historical oppression, prejudice, and discrimination.
In the United States, forced slavery contributed to the victimization of African Americans. Also, Jim Crow laws made racial segregation legally acceptable (Guffey, 2012). From 1955 to 1968, the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King Jr., an activist who practiced nonviolent social change, drew attention to the racial discrimination that violated the rights of
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African Americans (About Dr. King, 2014). The Separate but Equal Doctrine bridged Jim Crow practices and the end of the Civil Rights era. People of color, however, continue to have poor relations with the criminal justice system, in part, because men of color are arrested and incarcerated at a disproportionate rate (Alexander, 2012; Fagan, West, & Holland, 2003; Goffman, 2014; Vogel, 2011). Minorities perceive that law enforcement officials are racially profiling marginalized communities because people of color are also the victims of poverty, incarceration, school dropouts, lack of secure housing and other socially significant factors, at a disproportionate rate (Smiley & Fakunle, 2016, p. 362). The events in Ferguson and other cities, further encourage people of color to participate in mobilizing a national social movement to combat what is viewed as excessive use of force by police officers. The protest efforts are facilitated because of technological advancements and the development of social media, which is instantaneous and widespread. Katz (2115) argued that marginalized communities have lost trust in law enforcement and in the criminal justice system. Social media facilitates the communication of messages (Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010). Therefore, activists utilize social media to disperse messages and spread awareness for their cause.
Moral Panic Framework
Understanding how incidents transition into a moral panic is crucial in analyzing current police-community relations. Even before community members decide to become activists, media sources socialize viewers to perceive incidents as problematic issues that need their attention and efforts. Anyone who has access to form of traditional corporate media sources or social media is socialized to perceive their cause or perceived situation as a true problem. The current social problem of nationwide protest against police use of force
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can be examined from a moral panic perspective. The framework initiated as a response to existing social issues, but it can be applied to analyze the rising tension between community members and law enforcement.
Traditional media and social media create the necessary components to contribute to a moral panic, especially in marginalized communities (Surette, 2015). A single person is bombarded with images of police abusing their authority. At the receiving end, media portrays minorities, specifically blacks, as the victims of violence perpetrated by police. Images of violence and abuse of power create a concern in communities across the nation.
According to Goode and Ben-Yehuda (1994), concern is the first necessary component of a moral panic. They explain that a moral panic requires a heightened level of concern over the behavior... of a certain group or category and the consequences that that behavior presumably causes for the rest of society (Goode & Ben-Yehuda, 1994, p. 156). If a community fails to perceive a situation to be a concern then there will be no moral panic. In recent cases, the concern has been that primarily black males are being disproportionately shot in interactions with law enforcement personnel. Jenkins (2009) adds that ordinary individuals need to be concerned that they have an opportunity of encountering the repercussions of their concern. The citizens of a black community might be more likely to believe that they can be the next victims of deadly police force. In addition, the concern needs to be credible to the community because of previous social movements or historical circumstances that have laid the foundation for the current concern (Jenkins, 2009). Poor relationships make the current concern that law enforcement are not trying to protect blacks realistic for certain communities.
The second component of a moral panic is that hostility needs to be evident. A moral
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panic requires an increased level of hostility toward the category of people seen as engaging in the threatening behavior, which creates an us versus them dichotomy (Goode & Ben-Yehuda, 1994, p. 157). A moral panic needs to have at least two opposing or competing forces, such as heroes or villains (Jenkins, 2009). This opposition creates the necessary hostility. The hostility, however, is subjective and it is based on the perspective of the witnesses. Current incidents have instigated activists to view police officers as the villains and vice versa.
The third component necessary to create a moral panic is a general consensus in the community that there is a concern. There needs to be some agreement between communities that threat is real, serious, and caused by wrongdoing of group members and their behavior (Goode & Ben-Yehuda, 1994, p. 157). For activists, the threat is serious because it leads to the death of young black males. Jenkins adds that the media reports need to be comprehensible and that there should be some standard faces or settings that can be used as stereotypical points of reference (Jenkins, 2009, p. 45). The Los Angeles Rodney King riots and the acquittal of the officers in that case serve as a stereotypical reference. The concern might take many years to develop before the communities are in a state of moral panic where they feel the need to protest. Not every death at the hands of police leads to a protest. The consensus needs to include a perceived outcome or solution (Jenkins, 2009). The protesters of police use of force have a general goal to save black lives. If the person of color commits a crime, the solution is for them to go through the traditional criminal justice process in a fair and just manner, hampered by neither discrimination nor violence at the hands of law enforcement. While the criminal justice continues to struggle with the elimination of discrimination, the prison population suggests change and reform are still necessary (Bryan,
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Haldipur, Martin, & Ullrich, 2015).
The fourth component of moral panic is that there needs to be a level of disproportionality in concern. Goode and Ben-Yehuda (1994) explain that the concern needs to be out of proportion to the threat. This component varies depending on perspective. For activists, as a black male, is your life in danger just because of your skin color at the hands of police? For law enforcement and government officials, are protesters a real danger to their own community that requires paramilitary methods to control? Goode and Ben-Yehuda (1994) argue that the reactions of the media, law enforcement, politicians, action groups, and the general public are out of proportion to the real and present danger a given threat poses to the society (p. 156). Perspectives about the probability of victimization and violent actions of individuals or law enforcement feed moral panic.
The final component in order to identify a moral panic is volatility. Volatility in the context of a moral panic means that the panic may erupt suddenly but just as quickly it can subside (Goode & Ben-Yehuda, 1994). The reactions of the community or law enforcement are temporary and the possibility of danger only exists when the five moral panic components are coexisting at the same moment in time. Specific components of a moral panic might last decades, but the interaction of the moral panic as a whole will rarely last a long time. Van Laer and Van Aelst (2010) support this claim when social media is introduced because, growth in support is often followed by an even faster decline in support (p. 1163).
Cohen (2002) first coined the term moral panic but noted the negative connotation of the term. He suggested the phrase good moral panic to describe a situation where, the concern expressed is regarded as legitimate and proportionate (as cited in David et al., 2011, p. 222). Good moral panic fails to rise to an exaggerated community reaction. Cohen believes
10


that a successful moral panic has the ability to produce such changes as those in legal and social policy or even in the way society conceives itself (Goode & Ben-Yehuda, 1994, p. 156). Therefore, the community reaction might be disproportionate, but it will create change.
Social media is not a required component of moral panics, but it has had an impact on moral panics and the community. Media content now includes many previously unheard voices (David et al., 2011, p. 220). Social media offers low income and marginalized communities a manner to engage in public policy. Cohen describes moral panics as becoming more prominent because individuals have the opportunity to participate and more media space is available to disseminate their views (as cited in David et al., 2011). Social media also allows moral panics to foster disproportionate beliefs, fears and indeed moral panic in audiences (David et al., 2011, p. 223). When taking into consideration Cohens (2002) good moral panic, media access fosters positive perspectives because it gives a voice to those that were formerly more marginalized (David et al., 2011, p. 226).
Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms provide previously unheard communities a voice. Facebook and Twitter are especially useful platforms to activists trying to spread awareness regarding cases where police use fatal force against a person of color. Facebook is comprised of a billion users worldwide and 95 million in the United States (Teresi & Michelson, 2015, p. 201). Facebook allows any person to create an account, then the users can, create a Facebook group to support a social/political goal and gather support of friends and other Facebook members (Vissers & Stolle, 2014, p. 260). An activist can create a Facebook group and invite other users to join their group and share their similar perspectives. Facebook allows users to engage in less demanding activist activities, such as liking or sharing
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material on their timeline for the distribution of information (Vissers & Stolle, 2014). People can have access to Facebook on a mobile application or from any computer connected to the Internet. Therefore, a person can participate in information diffusion from various locations at their convenience by liking or sharing a post. The newsfeed component of Facebook allows users who may be unaware of an issue to see what others in their network are liking or sharing. Therefore, users might be exposed to new information that they were unaware of and develop an interest in the new subject matter. The only cost to a Facebook user is the time it takes to recruit other users and to develop their postings (Teresi & Michelson, 2015). Consequently, Facebook is a user-friendly platform that activists use to spread awareness.
Twitter is also a social media platform that provides opportunities for networking. Raynauld & Greenberg (2014) describe Twitter as a free microblogging service with internal community-building capabilities that enable the publication of posts (p. 414). Facebook is focused on adding friends to a network, where Twitter emphasizes networking with strangers who can follow anyone with an account. A major difference with the latter platform is that it limits its users to create status updates, tweets, no longer than 140 typed characters (Small, 2011). The character limit, forces users to express themselves in a brief and often imprecise manner (Raynauld & Greenberg, 2014, p. 414). Even though this social media platform might not share accurate information, it can influence the creation of a moral panic and encourage mobilization. Twitter users can share eyewitness accounts with others all around the world (Small, 2011, p. 873). Users can tweet photographs and videos with the purpose of increasing visibility to any events they are witnessing. The character limit allows users to quickly post what they are thinking or experiencing just during one moment.
Facebook and Twitter allow an individuals voice to be heard nationally and globally.
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Facebook and Twitter give more people an opportunity to express their perspectives than traditional media. In addition, Facebook and Twitter are not controlled to the same degree as corporate media. Therefore, activists have more liberty in deciding what to post or tweet regarding their causes. Visibility of issues affecting communities is increased by social media platforms because the acquired knowledge might encourage users to take action outside of their cyber participation.
Protest Activities
Protests activities used in the movement addressing police use of force vary and constantly evolve. Ratliff and Hall (2014) identify six types of protests activities. First, activists might prefer literal symbolic, aesthetic, and sensory protests activities, which include holding signs, verbal speeches, theater performance, and destroying objects. These choices in activities tend to be more artistically expressive. Edwards and Kane (2014) also suggest that cultural resources can be created through music, literature, blogs, web pages, or films/videos (p. 216). Anything that is an art form fits in this category. Second, other protest activities utilize movement in space, which include marches, parades, picket lines, and bicycling (Ratliff & Hall, 2014, p. 281). This activity is typically stereotyped as an event that all activists participate in. Traditional media outlets, for example, often show images of marches on the news. Third, solemnity and sacred activities are associated with a loss or death. These activities include vigils, prayer, protests in a church service format, candle lighting, cross carrying, hunger strikes, laying wreaths, moments of silence and dedications (Ratliff & Hall, 2014, p. 281). Cases where people of color died because of fatal police use of force often prompt citizens to engage in sacred protest activities. Fourth, civil disobedience activities include withholding obligations, sit-ins, blockades, building occupations,
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bannering, and camping out (Ratliff & Hall, 2014, p. 282). Under the current movement against police use of force, the activity termed die-in fits in this category. Die-ins consist of having activists lying on the ground in streets, parks, and other locations. Social media plays an important role in organizing civil disobedience activities. Van Laer and Van Aelst (2010) note that social movement organizations wanting to mobilize for a mass street demonstration make extensive use of the internet to enhance coordination and mobilize efforts (p. 1152). In most cases, one concern of social activists is to avoid arrests; more experienced protestors attempt to coordinate activities online through social media by giving advice on legal behavior. Fifth, institutional and conventional activities include press conferences, lawsuits, lobbying, and meeting candidates (Ratliff & Hall, 2014). These activities might be more likely to produce social change, but other types of activities labeled as looting or rioting generate more traditional mainstream media attention. New social media activists share postings that provide different perspectives to the same reporting presented in mainstream media with the purpose of inciting conversations within their communities. The last type of activity is the category of violence and threats. These activities might include pushing or shoving, hitting or punching, damaging property, object throwing, other physical force, verbal threats of violence, and use of incendiary devices or bomb threats (Ratliff & Hall, 2014, p. 283). More violent events appear to be less coordinated activities or unplanned. For the most part, these events lead to arrest, which is undesirable for other types of activists.
Social Movement
Activist participation in protest activities leads to the creation of social groups or organizations where people share the similar beliefs and ideologies. If protest activities have
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enough participants who are consistently showing up to the events and receive significant attention from various media platforms, then the protest activities can create the consciousness necessary to create a social movement. Social movements are defined as networks of informal interaction between a plurality of individuals, groups and/or organizations, engaged in a political or cultural conflict on the basis of a shared collective identity (Diani, 1992, p. 13). The activists become known acquaintances and build relationships because they share perspectives surrounding the subject matter of the protest. Activists in the movement addressing police use of force, for example, share common perspectives of spreading awareness and reforming the criminal justice system.
The creation of a social movement depends on several factors in order to increase public attention. Gerlach and Hine (1970) describe five significant components of a true social movement. First, a social movement needs to be comprised of diverse groups that have ties holding them together. Beliefs and overlapping ideologies can solidify a movement. A shared belief in the movement addressing police use of force is that the militarization of law enforcement influences the decision an officer might make in whether to use less than or lethal force (Kappeler & Kraska, 2013; Kraska & Cubellis, 1997). Second, recruitment is based on social relationships. In the 1970, when these factors were identified, recruitment was limited to in-person interactions. Now, social media facilitates recruitment. Third, people need to have a personal commitment to change something based on new acquired values. The movement addressing police use of force is comprised of people with diverse backgrounds, but their commitment to spread awareness gives them an opportunity to learn and prioritize their attention toward issues affecting marginalized communities. Fourth, a social movement needs an ideology that creates structure by arranging a system based on goals and means to
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move towards progressive change. Activists have a common ideology to address excessive police use of force by organizing events that promote their goals, thereby creating a collective consciousness around the issue. Last, Gerlach and Hine (1970) identify that social movements need opposition from those who create an established order in society or in particular communities. Black Lives Matter, for example, has received opposition from various sources ranging from conservative community members, police unions, and politicians. Clearly, activists participation in protest activities has evolved into a social movement with the potential of influencing public perceptions of law enforcement.
Resource Mobilization
The organization and mobilization of social movements can influence the impact of activists message or target goal. In order to better understand social movements, Edwards and Kane (2014) published a typology of five resource types. The typology describes how activists utilize resources during mobilization.
First, material resources include money and physical items that individuals have in their possession. Money gives power to social movements because it can be converted into other types of resources (Edwards & Kane, 2014, p. 212). Activists can use money or material goods to print banners, fliers, and souvenirs. Money can also be exchanged for necessary services, such as legal counsel. In the movement against police use of force money often is used to pay for the funeral services for the deceased or in paying bail of the arrested activists. Organizations or activists participating in the protests may ask for financial donations. Individuals who donate money are participating in supporting the protests, and there is usually minimal or no risk (Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010). The donation of money is a safe way to advocate for a cause.
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Second, human resources include supporters or participants of social protests. When the media shows images of protests, a variety of activists may be attending the event. Those individuals have different roles in the protests and they control their own labor, or participation in the protest (Edwards & Kane, 2014). Usually in protests, there is at least one member of the community who is a leading activist of the protest activities. For the most part, the participants are volunteering their time. Having a massive number of volunteers is a crucial resource for the success of a protest (Edwards & Kane, 2014). The more activists present during a protest demonstration, the more likely it is to draw the attention of the media. Edwards and Kane (2014) describe human resources as capital because protest participants are diverse in experience, skills, expertise, and knowledge. In order for a protest to be successful, activists need to be executing tasks in which they excel. An activist, for example, who is comfortable with public speaking will most likely be successful in reciting chants. Someone who has credentials in computer graphic arts often create logos to represent the protest.
Third, cultural resources include activists who have previous experience in being an advocate or protesting and who know the different roles or rules of being an activist. Fuist (2013) defines culture as ways of life, group traditions and rituals, and shared meaning and languages (p. 1045). Protests that draw attention and spread awareness are composed of individuals who understand what it means to be an activist. Activists will arrive at the chosen location and they will know exactly what to do and what to expect. Cultural resources facilitate the recruitment and socialization of new adherents and help movements maintain their readiness and capacity for collective action (Edwards & Kane, 2014, p. 216). An activist with prior experience already knows what tools to utilize in order to gain more
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followers. The activists with experience will teach new individuals who are passionate about a cause how to use their passion effectively in a protest. According to Fuist (2013), the formation and maintenance of a collective identity is a prerequisite for mobilization and collective action. A collective identity allows leaders in activism to have a level of control over the protest. A leader might be giving orders during the protest to make sure that everyone knows their roles. Activists also need to have control over new activists in order to protect their safety. Cultural resources constantly evolve and activists have to adapt to new ways of protesting (Edwards & Kane, 2014). The introduction of social media changed how activist recruit and spread awareness. Older activists need to recruit human resources who know how to use technology in order to take advantage of the current social climate.
Fourth, moral resources include solidarity and support from fellow activists, members in the community, individuals in positions of power, or in social media. Edwards and Kane (2014) describe moral resources as, legitimacy, authenticity, solidary support, sympathetic support, and celebrity (p. 217). A cause without support will be unable to accomplish its goals. The movement against police use of force has support because anecdotal stories are shared among community members. As previously mentioned, the historical treatment of minorities in the United States adds credibility to the cause.
Twitter is a social media platform that is used as a tool and a resource in social protests to promote and form solidarity. For example, active retweeting by members appeared to help form collective identity by showing fast responsiveness, affirmative validation, and emotional support for others opinions (Choi & Park, 2014, p. 142). Even though the interaction of individuals is online, they are able to form relationships and identify common interest. The activists on Twitter look for new individuals to recruit. They are
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paying attention to who responds to their messages or likes their postings, which supports their opinions. According to Choi and Park (2014) the act of retweeting seemed to play an important role in forming group solidarity and making a symbolic expression as a political act (p. 141). The symbolic expression is the retweeting because the follower is acknowledging that the information is of value and they want to share with their own followers. Moral resources are created and multiplied when credentialing individuals or organizations within society approve or support the goals and actions of the movement (Edwards & Kane, 2014). Credentialing individuals might include celebrities, people working in government or leading activists in the cause. During the Ferguson protests, celebrities showed their support of the movement by physically attending the protest, taking a picture with a symbol of the protest, or posting a message on social media.
Fifth, socio-organizational resources include strategies, such as the use of social media, implemented to organize the movement and create relationships between activists. Edwards and Kane (2014) explain that socio-organizational resources are produced when movements form organizations, cultivate networks of allies, form issue coalitions, establish communication networks with web pages and blogs, or use social media to maintain Facebook pages and Twitter feeds (p. 220). This is a resource where social media enhances the movement. Online organizing requires only a few individuals to take significant action in order to enable the masses (Earl et al., 2014). The movement against police use of force utilizes Facebook and Twitter to send messages to the community and organize events. Preexisting social relationships or organizations between activists, facilitates the emergence, mobilization, varied activities, and spatial distribution of social movements (Edwards & Kane, 2014, p. 215). Therefore, it is in the best interest of the movement to interact with
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activists on social media before a protest. Moral resources, such as group solidarity, can form from socio-organizational resources (Edwards & Kane, 2014). Individuals are constantly interacting on social media and they can begin to form solidarity for the cause. According to Choi and Park (2014), some connections with members that were initiated online turned into strong ties through shared awareness, collective identity, and shared responsibility (p. 142).
Internet-based solidarity is a new cultural phenomenon that is becoming more prevalent because individuals have the capacity to interact with a larger network of people. Recruitment is facilitated because the Internet and social media are widely accessible (Edwards & Kane, 2014). Even if someone lacks the luxury of private Internet, there are various public spaces that offer free wireless Internet connection. A positive aspect of organizing through social media is that the costs are minimal or close to non-existent (Earl et al., 2014). The social organization resources function to further the goals of the movement (Edwards & Kane, 2014). Even if social media is used to network with individuals, the goal is to collectively protest police use of force.
Resource mobilization clearly identifies how social protests utilize technology to promote their cause. The evolution of the Internet and social media platforms has decreased the amount of resources necessary to initiate social change. However, adequate resources are necessary in order for a social protest to achieve its goals.
Internet-Enhanced Activism
The Internet and social media have revolutionized what it means to be an activist. There are several different avenues for participating in a movement and ultimately in a social protest. Activism is more efficient, but it has not been changed by Internet usage (Earl et al., 2014). Jeroen Van Laer and Peter Van Aelst (2010) describe how, social movements have
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become easier to organize and coordinate thanks to the Internet (p. 1148). The Internet and social media do not replace in-person activism. Individuals are still marching in the streets. Also, online efforts do not replace the emotional impact of a mass demonstration.
There are new uses of the Internet related to activism. First, the Brochure-ware describes when the Internet is used only to distribute and provide information (Earl et al., 2014; Earl et al., 2010). Brochure-ware sites have no other purpose other than to present information. The website may only be used to distribute information about the reasons and goals of a protest (Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010). Second, the Online Participation use consists of having a space online for individuals or activists to participate (Earl et al., 2014; Earl et al., 2010). This approach might be in the form of electronically signing a petition or donating money on a secure website. Van Laer and Van Aelst (2010) provide an example of Online Participation: anyone with a Facebook profile can form a group against/or in favor of a particular case and invite other members to sign this cause by becoming a member of this group (p. 1156). Third, the Online Organizing use allows movements to organize completely online in websites, blogs, or listserves (Earl et al., 2014; Earl et al., 2010).
The last type of Internet use is Online Facilitation of Offline Activism, which consists of using website to present information, organize, and coordinate upcoming offline protests (Earl et al., 2014; Earl et al., 2010). This type of use serves as a way to distribute information and share a guide of recommendation to the general public about a planned protest. Online Facilitation might be the preferred method because the internet allows for the quick dissemination of messages about time and place (Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010, p. 1155).
The information reaches a large audience within a couple of seconds. Van Laer and Van Aelst (2010) explain that via the Internet, organizations provide detailed information on
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time, place and perhaps even a practical field guide for activists to inform people on how to organize, on their rights and how to protect themselves from harm (p. 1153). Activists who are respected in the community or who have previous experience share information with new activists to prevent them from getting hurt or arrested. This information might be shared through social media before a protest takes place. Other examples of information that is shared online to activists includes schedules of meetings, information about protection of tear, and legal information (Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010). Activists who have a lot of experience in protest will know phone numbers for obtaining legal representatives.
Users utilize internet-enhanced activism as a resource, which is comprised of different levels of followers. Individuals have a different status in their Internet connectiveness. First, Influentials are the targets of tweets because other users direct their tweets to them hoping that they will pass them on and help them reach a larger number of people (Gonzalez-Bailon et al., 2013, p. 957). Other users want an Influential to create awareness for a cause. Unfortunately, the media revolves around Influential individuals because they hold social power in society. However, celebrity support is a positive aspect when they use their influence to create necessary social change. Second, Broadcasters have network position that give them access to a large audience, and they primarily send out more messages than they receive (Gonzalez-Bailon et al., 2013). Broadcasters can include individuals or an identity representative of a collective group. A Broadcaster, for example, can be a single news reporter or it can also be the Facebook and Twitter page of a news station. Third, Hidden Influentials are crucial in mobilizing a protest because they are individuals or organizations that receive the majority of protest messages (Gonzalez-Bailon et al., 2013). Hidden Influentials have followers, but not to the extent of the previous two
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users. Organizations who have Facebook and Twitter pages are Hidden Influentials if their purpose is to mobilize a movement in the name of a cause. The #BlackLivesMatter organization on Twitter and Facebook are Hidden Influentials because they are spreading awareness against police use of force. The group members of Hidden Influentials play a significant role in organizing its members and establishing the informal networks (Choi & Park, 2014, p. 132). Finally, Common Users send more messages and have a few followers. Common Users include activists that contribute to the gross of the activity of the protests without standing out (Gonzalez-Bailon, 2013, p. 958). Broadcasters, such as news outlets, most likely target common users because there is a massive amount of them. Common users are less likely to be successful in starting long chain reactions, but they have the power in numbers (Gonzalez-Bailon, 2013, p. 959). Common users rarely begin a massive hashtag movement like #BlackLivesMatter, however Facebook and Twitter allow activists to express themselves (Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010). A Common User tends to post or tweet information that is relevant in their own life or their passions.
Consequences of Internet-Enhanced Activism
Advances in technology revolutionized the Internet and the creation of social media platforms. Even though there are positive aspects of how social media has altered activism and protest movements, there are unintended consequences. According to Earl et al. (2014), Real activism must inevitably play out in the streets, and so online activism is, at best, a gateway to this more important form of activism, and, at worst, a distraction (p. 375). In-person protest are emotionally charged and the passion of the activists is what triggers change. Van Laer and Van Aelst (2010) utilize the phrase Keyboard Activism to represent the online activism, which may go at the expense of real actions (p. 1162). The unintended
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consequence is that online activists fail to publicly portray the same interest and passion as activists who go out in public and verbally support their cause. Harlow and Guo (2014) explain that while Facebook and online social media sites might mean greater involvement, it is less meaningful (p. 472). By participating in different types of protest activities, even though the organization occurs through social media, the activists participation might experience a rewarding experience that is more meaningful to themselves and the movement.
Another consequence of transitioning into social media organizing takes into consideration the difference in opportunity of citizens. Van Laer and Van Aelst (2010) discuss a concept termed a Digital Divide, where citizens have inequality in Internet access (p. 1160). Not every citizen is fortunate to have a Smartphone with unlimited data. Low-income neighborhoods where people live in poverty may lack food, shelter, or adequate education. Therefore, having a home computer or Internet access is unrealistic. Even though we live in an age with incredible technological advances, citizens from marginalized communities might, lack the skills to use the new media technology (Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010, p. 1160).
In order for a social protest to fulfill the goals of the activist it is necessary for individuals to be competent in the roles. Edwards and Kane (2014) mention that individuals will be a positive attribute to a movement if their skills and expertise are a good fit with the group. Usually, when people are hired for employment, their experience and skills becomes an asset to an employer. The Internet and social media have reduced the costs of organizing dramatically, but low costs of organizing entirely online drew in radically different kinds of organizers, including people with no experience with activism (Earl et al., 2010, p. 432). Instead of contributing to the movement against police use of force, these inexperienced
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individuals become a burden. The new activists might want act with violence, as seen during the Freddie Gray Baltimore protests. The new activists that are recruited, often had different priorities and concerns than traditional social movement organizers (Earl et al., 2010, p. 432). These differing sides create a divide in the movement. Different activists will have different goals and priorities. When the movement is divided, the internet is unable to create the necessary trust and strong ties that are necessary to build a sustainable network of activists (Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010, p. 1163). Activists must remain united and organized to help prevent people from getting harmed or arrested.
When the Internet facilitates protest organizing and recruiting, it unfortunately causes activists to reduce their level of effort. Harlow and Guo (2014) describe the influence of the Internet as a, type of pacification that might lead people to believe that they were making more of a difference than they really were (p. 474). This situation is problematic because activists might believe that they are doing their part in contributing to the movement. In reality, they are not doing much. Activists will not be motivated to get involved in more direct protests because, they can more easily pursue social and political change by clicking on a button and watching some ads (Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010, p. 1162). The ease of use, however, is a positive attribute for adult activist who are trying to balance their employment, family, education, and activism. Activists whose motivation to participate is minimal and decide to participate only because of the speed and convenience of the Internet are termed Five-minute activist (Earl et al., 2010). Lack of participation creates a problem with solidarity and it becomes difficult to create a collective identity with other devoted activists. Usually if an activist is unwilling to get out of their comfort zone, then they most likely will not participate in the movement for a long time. This situation leads to a cost benefit analysis
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of the use of social media in recruiting activists because of Flash activism. This form of activism involves a large number of individuals participating in protest actions for a short time (Earl et al., 2014). The Internet allows activists the opportunity to spread their message, but the individuals they recruit might not have the same commitment, interest, or passion in pursuing the goal of the protest movement.
Social media has revolutionized the movement against police use of force. Activists have various resources at their disposal. The Internet is one of the most influential resources for activists. By understanding the organization of protests and the goals of the social movement, different practices can be implemented to prevent future violent protests. Better execution of protests can prevent the escalation of violence, which endangers activists and law enforcement officials.
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CHAPTER III
METHOD
This study is an exploratory approach designed to examine activist ideology, social media practices in organizing protests, and perceived community relations with law enforcement. According to Creswell (2013), when conducting qualitative research, the researcher builds a complex, holistic picture; analyzes words; reports detailed views of participants; and conducts the study in a natural setting (p. 300). Qualitative studies provide an in-depth analysis that might not yield the same results as a quantitative data collection process, but contribute to a more holistic understanding of a phenomenon. The majority of scholarly research related to activists or social movements is based on a quantitative methodology; therefore a qualitative study introduces the possibility of unique data by providing a rich narrative. This design often yields innovative results because qualitative research is best conducted, when we want to empower individuals to share their stories, hear their voices, and minimize the power relationships that often exist between the researcher and the participants (Creswell, 2013, p. 48). Sharing perspectives and stories is of utmost importance to activists. Also, qualitative methodology may provide some insight related to the escalation of protests against policing.
Sampling
Fieldwork access to protest activities was based on following social media accounts of organizations and community groups known for their active roles in the movement against police use of force in Colorado cities. In this research, the movement refers to the collective efforts of various organizations and unaffiliated activists to address the issues surrounding police use of force. The names of all organizations are not disclosed to protect the
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confidentiality of the participants that are affiliated with small organizations. Large national organizations represented in this study include: Black Lives Matter, Showing Up for Racial Justice, Anonymous, Occupy and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan. In total, 18 organizations were followed.
The primary investigator began by following organizations newsfeeds on Twitter, and if possible, also liking the profile page on the groups Facebook account. The investigator proceeded by paying special attention to any Facebook Posts or Twitter Tweets regarding public community events that the organizations would be hosting. These events were ideal sites for non-participant observation. In observational research the researcher is an outsider of the group under study, watching and taking field notes from a distance (Creswell, 2013, p. 293). By preventing interaction between the investigator and the study participants, the investigator was able to observe the participants without altering their behavior in the protest activities.
After non-participant observation of protest activities was complete, the primary investigator contacted activists through email. Contact information is easily found in the Facebook and Twitter profile of the activist community groups. Community organizers willing to participate in the study responded with their cell phone numbers, email addresses, or Facebook contact information. A total of 20 activists agreed to participate in in-depth interviews. The interviewees were 55% Black, 20% Latino/a, 15% White non-Latino/a, and 10% Pacific Islander. Eleven people failed to respond to the email requests. All of the activists who responded accepted to participate. This form of contact information collection also led to a purposive snowball sample of interview participants. Purposive sampling occurs when the inquirer selects individuals and sites for a study because they can purposefully
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inform and understanding of the research problem and central phenomenon in the study (Creswell, 2013, p. 301). Purposive sampling offers several benefits. First, participants can be selected in nearby cities for logistical and geographical convenience. Second, observational research is facilitated when sudden or unexpected protest activities occur. A concern regarding purposive sampling is that it might lead to researcher or respondents bias based on targeting a specific sample of select participants, therefore the results cannot be generalized beyond the groups and individuals studied here.
Data Collection
Non-participant observation. Protest events vary in type, but all had the main goal of addressing police use of force. The events include vigils, demonstrations in front of symbolic buildings, street marches, boycotts, petition signing, and riots. Approximately 20 to 50 activists typically participated in the 10 observed events. The activists ages appeared to range from 18 to 60.
That non-participant observation was occurring was not disclosed to the activist at the time of the protest activities. The participants present at protest activities were in public spaces and therefore their expectation of privacy was minimized. The potential for harm from being a study participant was highly unlikely. During the observation component of the study, an additional researcher was present. Two people observing the protest events and recording notes, reduced the likelihood of error in memory recall. Notes were taken on cell phones during the events. The observation notes consist of descriptions of the location, activities, interactions, and composition of the groups (Creswell, 2013, p. 166). The events ranged from one to five hours.
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Interview. A total of 20 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with adult activists were conducted. The interviews ranged from 30 to 60 minutes. An information sheet was provided to the participants to obtain verbal consent (see Appendix A). Prior to conducting the interview, the participants received relevant background study information, and they were reminded of their rights. The participants were assured that any information gathered would remain confidential and available only to the research team. Each participant selected the location for their interview. Interview locations included offices, campuses, and coffee shops. Five interviews were conducted by phone. Hand written notes were taken during the interview and then entered into a word document with additional observations.
The interview questions were designed to explore activist ideology, social media practices in organizing protests, and perceived community relations with law enforcement (see Appendix B). The interview protocol consisted of open-ended questions and allowed for further probes when necessary. After rapport was established through introductions and casual conversation, the participants were asked to reflect on the goals and means of their activities related to law enforcement. The question regarding the goals of protesting against police agencies attempts to address the planning and organization of protest activities described by previous research as a transformation of internet-enhanced activism (Earl et al., 2010). The questions regarding how activists use social media and its influence in the movement explore internet-enhanced and offline participation as a crucial element for facilitating activism (Earl et al., 2014; Earl et al., 2010). The protocol questions addressing the positive and negative aspects of protests are based on the observations of Ratliff and Hall (2014) who indicate the need for further conversations on the importance of organizing actions. The activists perceptions of the effectiveness of their protests and the reactions of
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law enforcement provide insight into perceived police-community relations, particularly related to moral panic framework (Goode & Ben-Yehuda, 1994). The protocol also included a question on the participants definition and the components of social movement in order to more fully understand the transition from a protest activity to a social movement (Gerlach & Hine, 1970). The final question regarding divisiveness among the protest groups further addresses the consequences of Internet enhanced activism (Earl et al., 2010). Overall, although existing literature guided the development of the interview protocol, the observational research, high visibility of media related events, and sociological imagination described by C. Wright Mills (1959) were essential in creating the questions.
Ethical considerations. All of the participants from the observations and interviews were treated ethically according to the standards of the University of Colorado Denver Institutional Review Board, which granted approval for the methodology of this study. In addition, the primary investigator and the faculty mentor completed the basic training for conducting social and behavioral research from the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative. Any data gathered from the observations or interviews was utilized for the intended purpose of completing an exploratory study.
Participant risk stemming from this study was minimal and highly unlikely. Participants may have felt uncomfortable during the interview when possibly discussing negative information about fellow activists, the movement addressing police use of force, or the criminal justice system. By informing participants that their participation in the study is voluntary discomfort was minimized. Participants were informed that they had the right to decline to answer questions, and the right to end the interview at any time.
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Efforts to protect confidentiality included a verbal consent and the elimination of any identifiers of the participants. A breach in confidentiality is unlikely, but may lead to negative repercussions. Activists, however, are being asked to describe what they feel is appropriate to share. In the rare instance of a breach, an activists reputation may be at-risk if their viewpoint conflicts with other activists or criminal justice professionals. All data are stored on encrypted servers.
Analysis
Data analysis procedures. Data analyses was conducted by identifying major themes from the non-participant observation field notes and the semi-structured interviews. A manual thematic analysis was conducted by creating codes. Codes are symbolic summaries (Saldana, 2015, p. 11). The notes were coded by identifying patterns of repetitive words or short phrases. The patterns were then grouped into categories based on similarity by comparing and contrasting the data (Saldana, 2015, p. 11). From the various categories created, major themes were identified, that are proverblike narrative memories (Saldana, 2015, p. 11). Themes include several codes aggregated to form a common idea (Creswell, 2013, p. 302).
Methods for verification In order to improve the reliability of the analysis, a second person also manually coded the field and interview notes. The coded themes were compared until intercoder agreement was achieved. Creswell (2013) indicates that intercoder agreement occurs when, multiple coders assign and check their code segments to establish the reliability of the data analysis process (p. 298).
Limitations. The accounts of these activists may not be reflective of all protesters and social movements, but the results give voice and deepen our understanding of the tension
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between the community and policing (Ragin, 1994; Sediman, 1998). The study is qualitative and therefore the investigator is highly immersed in the activist environment, although objectivity was a primary goal. Also, problems in replication are common in qualitative data, to some extent. Additionally, given the study is based on a non-probability purposive convenience sample of activists, generalizability is limited. Inconsistencies may be present if an interviewee was less than forthright with responses, although this type of situation did not appear to occur.
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CHAPTER IV
RESULTS
Data analysis of the 20 activist interviews and 10 non-participant observations revealed six major themes. First, the versatility of social activism allows activists with different backgrounds and skill levels to participate in movements. Second, the use of social media as a resource tool has facilitated the organization of protest activities. Third, goal of activists to spread awareness in their communities further encourages people of color to mobilize. Fourth, the unification and destruction of acts of resistance create a collective activist identity, but also make activists a vulnerable target for voicing their perspectives. Fifth, divisiveness among activist groups impacts activists progress towards the desired changes and influence the stigmatization of the movement. Finally, activists seek to encourage the (de)construction of law enforcement and policing in order to help create changes they perceive are necessary in their communities. The following section further explores these six themes.
Versatility of Social Activism
Each participant has their own definition of what social activism means to them and considers themselve an activist. A Latina community organizer, stated during an interview activism cannot be measured. The interviewees acknowledged that there are a variety of different ways that a person can participate in social activism. An activist scholar, for example, described that social activism can be an individual or collective effort that seeks to change things for the better for a particular group of people or for all people. A Latina college graduate identified examples of justice work, which include:
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marching, posting on Facebook, talking within your family about these types of issues, educating your friends, being involved in a student organization on your campuses or in your high school, and checking your friend when they say something.
The majority of activists believe that social activism requires some kind of
involvement. The type of participation varies because for some, activism is being involved
in events or organizations, and for others it can be engaging in uncomfortable
conversations. In addition, people with more activism experience suggest that getting
involved online and making that a gateway to offline work is something that a new activist
should embrace. However, there is no expectation that people doing justice work need to
participate in traditional protests or demonstrations. For reasons such as safety, potential
supporters can educate people by separating myths from facts, engaging in civic duties, or
volunteering in their community to show support for the cause, according to many of the
participants.
The various opportunities for justice work allows people with different skills to take on the role in the movement that best suits them. A Latina political scientist described that there are supporters, leaders, and guiders in the movement. Some people can take on many roles. A black college student described the roles at the events he attended: [there are] people who help plan out how you're going to do activism, people who have good networking skills, people who have the knowledge, people who understand knowledge, and who know how to present. People use their skills to add something to the movement because they believe in the cause.
Social Media Tools
Activists use social media as a tool for organizing and mobilizing the movement because, according to the participants, it can cross class, culture and race boundaries. A
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Latina community organizer described that increased access, the internet, and devices help overcome obstacles for organizing. Therefore, participants can focus on building relationships and can have a moment to reconnect and to unify. Activists have mastered the use of social media to organize. A white graduate student expressed her appreciation for social media, which connects her to other activists. A black middle age participant also appreciates that he can learn about and contact other organizations that he never knew existed before social media. In addition, social media is beneficial for people actively participating in protest activities because it is quick, its instant, and they can write immediately what theyre thinking. Activists described their power to disseminate their perspectives by having the opportunity to share information like news articles, posts. A successful social media campaign becomes viral, which means that the information shared has reached an immense audience where the attention to the issue is at the national or international level. Not only is social media allowing community members to connect, but it is also serving the same role that television did in the 60s and that radio did in the 20s and 30s as a form of communication.
Many activists want to create a separate information outlet rather than depend on mainstream corporate news sources, and social media gives people the opportunity to share information. Spreading knowledge is empowering for people using social media because they create their own source of information. A Latina community organizer stated, for example, what we do is we take pictures at our protests, at our actions, at our events, and we make films because were taking back the media and making our own stories. Participants want to portray their own accounts of the events; often to further their cause. Consequently, a black
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radio host, who was interviewed, coined the phrase democratization of social media to describe how activists can distribute their own news separate from mainstream media.
The influence of social media on the movement addressing police use of force leads activists to believe that for the very first time there is a real description, depiction of what police do on the media because the information is being distributed independent free public sources. Residents acquire knowledge about new cases regarding police use of force because everybody has phone, everybody has a camera on it and everybody has some sort of link to social media. Technology and the advancements in social media facilitate the dispersion of information.
Many participants believe social media indirectly addresses police use of force because, everyone feels like they are being watched, and therefore, its influencing how people act. Therefore, police might alter their behavior because they never know when their actions are being filmed. A black attorney described that when social media is coupled with technology, then you cant hide the garbage. People are forced to see the problems that other communities are facing across the country with their local police departments.
In addition, activists credit social media with shedding light on people who refuse to remove their blinders. This comment is referencing people who are in denial that police officers are incapable of excessive use of force against poor people of color. Therefore, a valuable contribution of social media, according to a white activist, is to public outrage to then motivate people to act. Most people, for example, feel the need to do something when they see a problem, therefore participation in the movement might be increased in times when a clip of an officer shooting a person of color goes viral.
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Facebook. Facebook is a crucial component for organizing protest activities. Out of the 20 study participants, 80% favors Facebook over other social media platforms. Activists described that Facebook is better for planning protest activities than other social media sites. Participants prefer this platform because Facebook is where people are looking. Almost all activist have a Facebook account even if they prefer a different social media platform. Facebook is more known, and more specifically thats where the eyes are. Several participants stated their preference for Facebook was because they are just old fashion or old school. Table 1 illustrates the different ways activists use Facebook according to the data analysis of the interviews.
Table 1. Most Common Uses of Facebook by Activists
Organize Offline Activities Online Activism Information Diffusion Build Relationships
n n n n
Get followers i Share: Share: Contact preference 2
Encourage turnout 2 specific cases 4 links i Follow other users 3
Invitation to events 3 activist posts 2 quotes i Connect with others 6
Planning 1 campaigns 3 articles 5
Event promotion 1 activism music 2 research 1
Post photos or videos 4 memes 1
Engage in dialogue 6 pictures 5
Follow other media 3 posters 1
Sign petition 3 stories 2
Share to incite response 4 Reading source 2
News source 11
Bookmark post 1
Note: (n) is the number of people who mentioned the type of use
Twitter. Another social media networking site prevalent among activists is Twitter. Out of the 20 interview participants, 20% preferred Twitter over Facebook. A useful feature of Twitter repeatedly mentioned during the interviews was the ability to retweet, which means that the user can forward the same post of another user on their own profile feed with the click of a button. There are concerns, however, with the structure of Twitter. A common
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response from activists was referencing Twitters 140-character limit in posts. A research scholar stated, I cant say it in that short amount of words. However, a few activists describe a positive view of the limitation by describing that the character limit on Twitter allows for more discussion with less words. People can be concise on this social media platform.
Twitter users for the most part network with users that follow them or people they are following. Activists have an opportunity to engage strangers. A positive aspect of Twitter is that users learn outreach from other things that are going on, that are not on your circle. Therefore, participants can connect with other people involved injustice work that they may not know in person. A black male activist commented that he follows close to 200 different activists on Twitter. Twitter provides a platform where users can learn from each other.
Participants identify that they use Twitter as a news source. A black college student stated, whether it's police brutality or news, I always get it on Twitter first. Activists believe that Twitter is better for getting information. People participating in protest activities have the ability to tweet in real time their observations, photos, or videos. The tweeting feature allows Twitter to become more of a primary resource.
Disadvantages. Social media is a relatively new phenomenon and its use by activists is revolutionary, but there are some inconsistencies that were noted by activists. Social media is a great resource tool for spreading awareness, but activists described that it has a saturation point. A Pacific Islander attorney experienced how Facebook can plateau and she believes that you start to not follow certain people, or you start to un-friend certain people, and you start to befriend new people. Also, a white photographer shared that not all posts are created equal. The users of social media are diverse and the quality of posts can vary. The
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participant indicated that there is a gray area of posts about social justice that can actually negatively affect the problems. A posting that uses derogatory language and negative stereotypes about police officers might not lead to the desired change. In addition, when the public sees a post about an event concerning a police officers choice to use fatal force, they can be removed from the reality of it because of the computer experience. Perceptions of those who experience protest events vary. Therefore, a video of an incident that goes viral might not depict the situation accurately, and the viewer might not have all of the information they need to form reasonable conclusions. Social media users might misinform activists because they might commit to attend a protest on Facebook events, but not actually attend. A Pacific Islander attorney expressed her frustration when she said, were thinking we got a whole army to march out, and its only three of us. The number of protest attendees affects the attention a protest event receives, and attendance is highly encouraged.
Community Awareness
Community awareness is a common goal shared by the majority of participants. An activist expressed the importance of this goal by saying we cant bring change if people arent aware. Participants want the public to learn about their cause and what they hope to accomplish. A black radio host commented that by engaging community members in conversations, they become educated, and therefore are activated.
In the movement addressing police use of force activists want people to know whats going on. Participants are referring to spreading awareness of cases where police execute excessive use of force towards a person of color. The current movement is giving attention to bad policing more so than in the past. Activists want to educate their communities not only on what the current cases of alleged excessive use of force by police are, but also on
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their rights and duties. The newly acquired awareness and knowledge can then empower
communities of color to demand what they perceive to be just. The majority of activists
expressed that education and empowerment can lead to the symbolic acknowledgement that
people of color have a voice that matters and can create systemic change.
Unification and Destructiveness of Acts of Resistance
The concept of activism requires people to become involved in different activities that
lead to the desired change. During protest activities, visibility is increased, for the cause
because communities can recognize the issues. Activists notice the patterns of what they
perceive to be unjust police behavior, particularly towards men of color. Protest activities can
take people out of ignorance, and they give people the opportunity to share their rage.
During many protest activities, the activists would sing the chorus of an Azaelia Banks song
to let all those who could hear know:
We can't be silent,
While our friends are gunned down.
Participants are passionate about claiming their space and a physical presence in history. A Pacific Islander attorney believes that through protest activity she will accomplish a manifestation of resistance by amplifying her knowledge, history, and stories.
Community members may not be aware of the hardships that people of color encounter, and protests are finally opening peoples eyes to say no things arent great. Even when people disagree on controversial views expressed in protests, activists believe that there is always an opportunity to learn and analyze the perceived problem. There are a multitude of activities used to protest. Activities range from an artistic rap (see Appendix C) to traditional marches. Table 2 illustrates the various acts of resistance that were observed or that participants mentioned.
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Table 2. Observed Acts of Resistance
Literal Symbolic, Aesthetic, and Sensory Movement in Space Solemnity and the Sacred
social media use marches vigils
scholarly writing walkouts from institutions rituals
blogging walking on street religious/ spiritual altars
writing books parades street memorials
holding signs burning incense
chanting singing symbolic clothing dancing rapping holding hands up speech spoken word reading poetry monetary donation lighting candles or torches
Civil Disobedience Institutional and Collective Violence and
Conventional Threats
public demonstrations signing petitions verbal altercations
blocking traffic new employment position cursing
interrupting city events meetings use of slang/nicknames
hunger strike panel presentations voting acquiring higher education
Note: Organized according to "Practicing the art of dissent: Toward a typology of protest activity in the United States, by T. N. Ratliff and L. L. Hall, 2014, Humanity & Society, 38(3), p. 288. doi: 10.1177/0160597614537796
Unification. Protest activities tend to unite the people that participate. When activists unite for a common struggle, it gives a sense of solidarity, its a sense of camaraderie, its a sense of we are unci comimidad [a community], we are one people. People who participate feel united in the struggle. The co-leader of a black organization stated that when tragic things, or frightening things happen in communities you have relationships established that allow you to trust who you're in the street with, or protesting with, or grieving with. In
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addition, participants interact with others who have the same views and opinions. A Pacific Islander attorney commented that the unification experience of protesting is healing, it's validating, it's freaking empowering. Participants value that they have similar perspectives on controversial issues, but they also have vastly different life experiences. One activist, for example, commented:
We need a plethora of voices. We need the young white male talking about his privilege and how he's seeing how he's able to walk down the street without being accosted by the police; while at the same time witnessing a black male not able to have that same privilege. We need the voice of the young African-American male that talks about being accosted by the police. We need the voice of the young African male's mother who talked about her fear every time she lets her son leave the house.
In an environment where tensions are high, having more supporters can empower
individuals to act. A black activist said we have a louder voice when we are together. The
number of people in a group literally amplifies the volume of chants, but a protest group also
inspires individuals to speak up about what they perceive to be unjust. When a group of
people unite, it gives individuals that ability, that courage to speak up, especially when
their goal is to dismantle every single social norm.
Not only are people uniting in the moment, but also across generations. A Latina
community organizer described the different generations: In these events we are seeing
children, like straight up children 5 years-old to 12, we are seeing young people 12 to 18, and
then we are seeing adults, and then were seeing elderly. People from all ages are
encouraged to participate in whatever way they can.
The unification of activists creates connections with previous movements. The
current movement addressing police use of force is seen as a continuation of struggles faced
during slavery and the civil rights movement. Participants reference slavery because,
according to a Latina college graduate, the origins of policing stem back to when the police
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force was established to bring slaves back to their masters. A significant reference made by many activists is that police officers helped to enforce the Jim Crow laws (Alexander, 2012). Many participants reference Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Black Panthers. People that participated in the civil rights movement are also part of the current movement addressing police use of force. During non-participant observation at a community event with roughly 2,000 attendees, the co-leader of an organization stated, the [name of organization] family stands before you at the feet of this giant, this radical, Dr. Martin Luther King. A black research scholar made the connection during an interview that the national Black Lives Matter organization is similar to the Black Panthers of the 1960s, where the negative actions of a few participants is painting the entire movement in a negative manner. She provided examples of good acts the Black Panthers were doing, such as feeding the community, making sure that there is equitable education for the kids. The movement is trying to unite because there is a history that FBI informants were sent into the Black Panthers. A Latina community organizer stated that Martin Luther King Jr. was all about changing legislation peacefully. Activists are embracing historical figures and using them as examples of how to keep the current movement peaceful and united.
Destructiveness. Protests have the benefit of uniting community members and encouraging active participation, but they also have consequences for activists and communities. People who are not a part of the community where the protest is taking place take advantage of the situation to act in ways that the movement finds offensive. A black college student stated that most people that come to protest don't even know what they're protesting for, they just know that black people are doing this. I'm black, so I'm going to do this. A black research scholar provided examples of how some people express frustration
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in an intentional violent or conflicting manner. A black participant made a similar observation when he remarked that, every once in awhile, you'll get that one or two hotheaded individuals who want to let off some steam. Activities that the collective movement disapproves of include: breaking into businesses and stealing stuff, busting the police cars and other cars, and lighting them on fire. A specific incident mentioned during the interviews described how some individuals poured red paint on a fallen police officers memorial. Outsiders associate these types of activities as being embraced by the movement, which is not the case. A black college student explained that rioting will not solve the issues because your words aren't listened to. A major problem regarding participation is that there is a disconnect between some folks who just want to act right now instead of actually checking in with the family to see what they want. This reference is made to relatives who have lost a family member because of police use of lethal force. The activists interviewed in this research acknowledged that people who are experiencing pain, this trauma at the front of it, get re-traumatized over and over. Families keep seeing the memory of their lost loved one used as a justification for protest activities.
Protest activities receive media attention because they disrupt status quo business as usual. Mainstream media may distort incidents and generalize the problem to specific organizations and not the individuals unassociated with the movement. A Latina community organizer indicated that it is super tactical of the media to paint that picture of these protest like people are just messing up their own communities, suggesting that these stories increase viewer ratings. However, she further clarified that even when there is well-intended reporters or newscasts, they have a very short time to report such a complex issue, and they underreport or they misconstrue the message.
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Activists, for the most part, are unconcerned with hiding their identities. Since participants are advocates of controversial issues, they are labeled as radical, anti-patriotic, anti-USA, anti-citizen, racist. A black college graduate observed that outsiders label her and the people she associates with as a hate group, because she has been told oh my gosh you hate white people, oh my gosh how can you stand up for something like that. The stigma that comes from participating in events even affects how their acquaintances perceive them.
A black attorney, who is active in community events, said: I have had folks that have known me for 20 plus years call me a racist because I have spoken out against cops. Losing friendships is sometimes a consequence of protest participation.
Divisiveness Among Activist Groups
Considering the emphasis on being a collective group to combat what activists perceive to be unjust, the reality is that the movement is divisive. Almost all of the participants believe that differences between activists make the movement stronger. A black radio host indicated that there may be unity without having uniformity. The movement addressing police use of force is comprised of different organizations and unaffiliated individuals. The participants are diverse in race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, work experience, socio-economic status, and even the level of interaction with law enforcement. When people bring their perspectives into the movement, it gives the collective effort authenticity. The participants pointed out that efforts are being made to create solidarity. However, there were clear differences of opinion when considering areas of potential divisiveness.
Online activists. The participants of the movement use social media as a tool, however, the perspectives regarding the balance between online participation and in-person activism vary. A black attorney believes there is value in people who are more the online
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warriors. Other terms participants mentioned to describe an activist that participates online included: ghost liker, Internet activist, Facebook activist, media warriors, and armchair activists. The main concern with people who participate online is that some people use social media to misrepresent their capacity. This statement refers to people who have the ability and the means to have a presence in the movement outside of their online participation by getting off your ass, according to one respondent. A black attorney further mentioned that it rings hollow if all you do is share an article and you dont have any sort of critical thought behind it. A Latina participant expressed frustration with online activists who are people that complain and bitch, and share stuff of memes or pictures that have provided no information or provided no solution. The director of one organization provided examples of actions that meaningless; you are just on Facebook. You are clicking likes all day, everyday. You dont even read the articles. You dont even copy and paste the quote. A young recent college graduate, who is beginning his activist journey, suggested in addition to talking about it on Facebook, take it a step further actively doing something. A black radio host cautioned that people involved online should try to put some boots on the ground in order to be in touch with the movement. Similarly, a computer paralegal expressed this perspective in her comment:
I was that person who only sat behind my phone or only sat behind my computer.. .1
didn't get research. I didn't get up. I didn't move. I didn't go to a library at least to try.
I didn't turn on the news to see what's going on. I just saw what was trending.
There are circumstances where the majority of activists believe that a primary online presence is appropriate. Most participants repeatedly identified DeRay Mckesson as a nationally well-known social media activist. Some participants criticized Mckesson for having primarily an online presence and becoming a celebrity, but they believe the
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recognition and followers that he acquires is a valuable contribution for spreading awareness. Online participants were labeled as hypocrites or lazy. A Pacific Islander attorney, however, believes that its a privilege for people to be an in-person activists because of monetary reasons, such as having the means to be able to not go to work. Activists are not expecting supporters to make unrealistic sacrifices that can lead to an extreme burden on their personal lives. A Latina community organizer stated that she is unwilling to vilify people who are either anti-social, or cant get out of their house, or maybe have warrants that they cant be at protests, they cant be at actions, they cant have police interaction. The interviewees noted one method of participating on social media that most activists respect.
An organization director indicated that, if youre going to be a social media social justice activist, then you need to be engaging people in conversations, you need to be posting your thoughts and your commentary. Another participant shared this perspective in the following response.
Whether it's folks with certain types of disabilities, folks with small children at home, folks in rural areas without ability to show up in a big city thing, there's a place for all of us in the movement and online has allowed that place for everyone.
The Role of the White Activist. The movement addressing police use of force
receives support from individuals with different backgrounds, including white activists. The
role that the white participant should play in the movement remains uncertain. People of
color explained that a trust issue exists among minorities and whites, which stems from the
former being a marginalized social group, but their unified goal is to work together in order
to peal off the layers of colonization in white supremacy. The large majority of the
interview participants share the opinion that the participation of white people is necessary for
progress in racial justice issues. A black co-leader of an organization commented that
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people of color with regard to this movement, are very welcome to having and say its necessary to have white folk as part of the movement. A Latina community organizer remarked that white people who get it, should go teach their white brothers and sisters how to get it too by embracing people of color. The data reveal an underlying assumption or perception that people listen to people of their own racial or ethnic background. In other words, white people are more open to listening to what white activists have to say about the subject matter. Additionally, white activists are seen as allies and accomplices of the movement, but there is an expectation that white people also need to be on the front lines during protest activities.
Some people participating in the movement believe that white people should not take the attention and the power of the movement away from people of color. A black attorney stated that white people can sit there, and listen, and learn what the issues are, and become better allies. Overall, the interviewees responses suggest that if white people take on a passive role, then people of color can take the lead. White activists often are insecure of their participation in the movement. White activists often receive mixed messages. Several participants have heard people of color say that white people should not control the movement, or white people need to be more directive and leading. A white participant explained that their role should be uplifting the voices of people of color, instead of directing the movement. Several activists of color mentioned that white people need to address their racist biases and unlearn the beliefs that grant them their privilege, in order to create a future generation of children who have the necessary exposure to embrace people of color.
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Competition. A few activists are receiving a great deal of attention from their
communities, elected government officials, law enforcement, and various media sources.
There is competition for attention and recognition between activists themselves. According to
another participant, the movement generalizes struggles of all people of color:
In an era where there are so many people being persecuted it becomes easy for groups who are doing the work to feel slighted if their particular struggle or their particular name isn't mentioned every time at the top of the list and it forms competitiveness.
A Latina political scientist explained that the movement is a popular people crowd,
because there is a high school mentality that who is who in civic engagement is what makes
you or breaks you. The actions of participants can be less influential if the activists are
seeking acknowledgement for their actions and want their brownie points for the day. A
black participant stated that, some people are ego tripping because they are getting a good
amount of attention from the press and not using that power for good. The good refers to the
progression to fulfilling the goals of the movement. Some activists describe the in-fighting,
as leading to activist frustration. A black participant added that if activists are criticizing each
other then theyre just as bad as the police. There is no expectation that all activists need to
agree and be holding hands, but definitely there is a belief among them that they should
avoid tearing each other down. A black attorney illustrated his perspective by providing the
following National Football League reference:
Not everyone on the Patriots likes Tom Brady, but Tom Brady will win you a championship. In activism, youre going to have people that dont like black Tom Brady, but if black Tom Brady can help us win the freedom super bowl, go forth.
Age versus experience. The movement addressing police use of force is recruiting
young activists on social media and adults with a reputable history of activism experience.
The people that participate in the protest activities range in ages. Activism is an
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intergenerational cycle, because elders that participated in the civil rights movement are now involved in the current movement. Some of the issues surrounding police during the civil rights movement are still relevant. The data show a certain degree of hostility between activists, particularly between elders and young adults. Older activists, also called old guards by some participants, believe activism should look, feel, and sound a certain way. Elders are not mastering new organizing tools, such as social media, but they are showing up at protest activities. Senior activists base their activism on their life experience. According to a Latina community organizer, they justify their activism by saying we witnessed this, weve seen this, weve experienced this, we thought it was over, and its here again and now its affecting our grandchildren. Overall, participants believe that there is value in remembering the civil rights movement because there are still related circumstances that need change. A divisive relationship exists between young adults and elders because elders participated in the civil rights movement, and they believe that there is a right way to execute a protest. Older adults believe there are better approaches than those used by younger generations. A respondent mentioned during the interviews that sexism and transphobia further create a divisive situation between older and younger participants.
Tactics. A controversial topic between activists is the use of tactics that different organizations use to draw attention to the movement. The tactics are as diverse as the organizations taking on the issues addressing police use of force or equality and justice for minorities. Some organizations believe their tactics are the most effective and the best. Depending on the group organizing acts of resistance, the participants might be more vocal, while others are more secretive. Protest participants are pointing fingers at each other,
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especially if the outcome of protest activity tactics is undesirable. A participant described
why white participants use aggressive tactics in the following comment:
White organizations because of either being unaware of their privilege, or because the protection of everybody there is not their number one concern, they just go hard. You know they go hard at the police, and thats when you see police in riot gear.
Some white activists plan to incite reactive police responses during their demonstrations.
During non-participant observations many of the white participants used masks, bandanas, or
scarves to cover their faces. According to some respondents, white people will start
shouting instead of finding ways to solve these problems. Several participants referenced
anarchists as being completely anti-state and F... those Pigs. A Latina community
organizer acknowledged that white anarchists throw that rhetoric hard.
If you are a white woman, do what you got to do and go yell at those police officers si quieres [if you want], because thats your privilege and thats your power, but thats not the reality for people of color.
A black college student believes when people yell, fuck the cops it hurts the cause. A white participant stated that intensity could sometimes put people off, and actually result in a negative consequence for the movement. According to the majority of activists, solving violence with violence is wrong.
Even though most events organized by people of color encourage peaceful protest, a tactic that one particular organization of color encourages is the use of community patrols. Armed community patrols, as described by the black founder of an organization, can give people the power to actively participate in their neighborhood by patrolling the police and themselves. This particular organization encourages citizens to protect their neighborhoods and be knowledgeable on the use of arms for their own protection. The founder made the following comment:
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I want to encourage community patrols, not only against racist cops, but anything that harms the community. Definitely by having two and three man patrols with a base setup, we can monitor the police movements and follow them around to make sure they're not doing anything that's going to infringe on anybody's rights.
In contrast, most protest activities that people of color organize use different non-
aggressive and non-threatening tactics. A Latina community organizer said that her
organization does not try to do things that put people in danger that we are inviting to be in
a protest. Similarly, a white participant noted that there is less intense social activism,
which is still engaging people, but less aggressive, and more inviting to conversation. Most
activist noted that participants actions need to be cautious and respectful. A Pacific Islander
attorney commented that social activism should be about not harming anybody.
Ideologies. Participants from different organizations have a divisive relationship
because their ideology and reasoning for participating in protest activities varies. Some
organizations consider themselves radical and some of them consider themselves reformist.
The movement addressing police use of force consists of different groups with different
goals and different focus points. Each organization involved in the movement has a different
agenda that they work towards. A black college graduate said we each follow our different,
our crew, when referring to the all the various organizations that comprise the movement.
According to one participant, during a parade, people were walking with their own clique,
instead of walking as a collective entity. Observational data support the segregation of
participants.
Differences in opinion can lead to conflict between activists. Organizations tend to be more amiable when the common goal is recognized by all groups. Animosity develops when a particular group creates a hierarchy of oppression, when members decide, who has it worse, whose issues dont matter at the moment. In addition, respondents explained that
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there have been instances where people are not coming out for each other. During nonparticipant observation, few black activists attended protest activities organized by Latinos or whites.
Divisiveness among activists is influencing the lack of effort being made to create coalitions among organizations. Even though the majority of participants advocate for unity, there is little effort being made to influence community beef on making a lot of partnerships between organizations. A black executive director of a youth serving organization described that groups focused on youth civic engagement are building coalitions. Activists appreciate the differences between them, because it is necessary that each of these organizations exist for their own purpose. A white activist stated that if they all communicate and unite with one goal in mind, maybe it can get done faster. The differences in ideology deter a speedy progression towards accomplishing their goals.
(De)construction of Law Enforcement and Policing
A major goal behind the movement addressing police use of force is to change the structure of law enforcement. In order to change the current system, policies and practices need to be deconstructed. Some suggest that officers need to unlearn and participate in training that is more considerate of the needs of communities of color. Activists vary in opinion regarding what a restructured criminal justice system would look like and if it is even possible for change in policing. A Latina community organizer commented that the ultimate expectations vary: For some its reform, for some its complete abolition of prison state. A black radio host explained that the goal is not to reform, but to replace the current policing practices with a more community-centered model that reflects the principles, reflects the morals, reflects the ideas, and reflects the vision of the communities themselves. Protest
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participants understand that they need to advocate for a system that is realistic. A black attorney explained that activists want something different and if not that, far better police. From the activists perspective, policing looks different depending on the targeted community. Therefore, participants have different opinions on what policing should look like in their own communities. A white activist believes that it is necessary to build a society where you trust the police force, and you believe that theyre actually there to protect you. Some believe that communities should be actively policing themselves in addition to the policing done by law enforcement. Activists are demanding change, but even they are unsure how to improve police-community relations.
Individual versus institution. The movement addressing police use of force stems from the communitys outrage over incidents in which police officers have fatally shoot people of color. Several activists noted what they perceive to be racist and oppressive policies stem from a systemic problem at the institutional level. A Pacific Islander attorney explained that racism is institutional, and therefore, the criminal justice system functions to uplift whiteness, by creating a deliberate barrier of oppression for people of color. At a protest activity a participant made the claim that these cases have no trial, no judge, no jury, just the gang in blue who is making these life altering decisions for the justice system with their blindfolds torn off.
Some activists feel that the problem is that individual police officers are taking the law into their own hands by deciding to fatally shoot a person. During one observation, a pastor told attendees we cannot allow our police force to become judge, jury and executioner. The majority of activists understand the need for a criminal justice system, but blame the problems on individual officers. A black participant expressed that he is not
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against the police organization, but that he is definitely against racist cops and everything that they do as far as being racially motivated to bring people of color harm. Activists, for the most part, believe that there is a small portion of police officers that will make it look bad for all of them. Participants rarely self-identify as anti-police and for the most part value the work of officers that resulted in positive interactions. A pastor added that communities have to deal with the powers that continuously put those same officers back on the street, back in our homes, back in our offices.
Accountability. A goal that is regularly mentioned among most activists is to hold police departments or police officers accountable for their actions or inaction. According to a Pacific Islander activist, communities need to re-imagine what accountability looks like. Community members who have lost someone to police use of fatal force believe that in several cases officers had other options. Several participants mentioned during the interviews that a specific district attorney never prosecutes police officers in their city. Activists in Colorado are extremely frustrated because most cases regarding questionable police behavior fail to result in criminal charges. Community members believe that there should be consequences for officer behavior. A white activist stated that by establishing a system of accountability for peoples actions, then law enforcements actions are more likely to be observed and noted. Participants demand that someone should be policing the police. Activists believe that they are not making unrealistic requests because they are trying to keep these institutions accountable to the law that they say that theyre serving.
Militarization practices. Activists have strong opinions regarding the militarization of police based on media portrayals of the protests in Ferguson, Missouri and what they have witnessed in their own communities. The protest that took place in Fergusson after the death
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of Michael Brown showed how Special Weapons and Tactic (SWAT) teams may instigate
further violence. According to a Latina college graduate, police officers are present at
demonstrations, and they show up with SWAT teams, tear gas, heavy machinery, and lots of
weapons. Activists agreed that the protests in Ferguson would not have escalated to the
extent that it did if the police showed less of a armed forces approach. A black research
scholar indicated that law enforcement needs to move away from policing and authority,
authorization, militarization. Activists are open to move towards peace officers, or go
back more to community policing. A concern for some participants is that a large majority
of police officers are veterans. Interviewees noted that police officers are using war type
weapons, techniques, and materials like the tear gas. According to a black activist, policing
techniques on communities of color is not even something during current wars that
countries want to use on the so called enemy.
Perception of policing in communities of color. The participants of the movement
addressing police use of force perceive a system that enables police violence. Based on what
activists experience in their communities and the social media exposure they encounter, they
form preconceived notions of their local police departments. A participant commented:
I've seen people respond by saying, "These officers are there to protect you. They're there to make sure cars don't hit you, and you're yelling at them and your criticizing them." Then, we've seen instances of completely peaceful protest met with riot gear, pepper spray, flat out abuse, and assault in which people say, "Oh, that is a completely unjust use of force and power. These are people who have a right to hold a sign or deliver a message."
A Latina political scientist noted that the actions and the over reactions by law enforcement, influence police-community relations. Even though activists agreed that not all cops are trying to enforce bad violence and police brutality, they believe the departments should still be held liable for the actions of its officers. A protest participant
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expressed her mistrust in the police department: activists dont know if they are understanding and comprehending the message and demands. Community members want their local police departments to hear the changes they believe are necessary, despite the data that shows little agreement in the area. As a Latina activist explained, they are not listening until theres enough people who are calling and protesting. Community members understand that protesting gives them the attention they believe should be given to specific issues.
Activists believe that police know their identities and the level of their involvement in the movement addressing police use of force. A Latino computer engineer mentioned that they are concerned about government surveillance of active participants. Activists have an understanding that there is danger in organizing against the police or for more safety from the police. A Pacific Islander paralegal described the fear she felt at a march when she saw a douche-bag looking cop. She noted: I felt like my life was on the line. People engage in undesirable and potentially hostile situations to support their causes, but they have an internal struggle that includes the conflict of being a community activist person and fear from police retaliation. Activists expressed that they need to be careful organizing because nunca sabes [you never know] if all of a sudden you have a bad tail light. This comment suggests that a known activist perceives that he or she may be profiled by police officers. Even though participating in protest can make activists have feelings of insecurity, they re-frame the negativity as an empowering motivator.
Resistance. Activists believe that police are resistant to change, and, therefore, intentionally resist any collaboration with active community members. Activists perceive that police personnel have too much control of power, or too much access to power. Police
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officers have the discretion to hold conversations with the community, but activist find that they tend to close their ears and they put up a wall. Additionally, one participant described that police see her like a pebble under their shoe. Police officers might justify their actions by blaming the suspect or deceased individual. A black activist, for examples, said that a police officer told him if they just complied, if they just listened to me and the law, then the end result would not have happened. Even though participants find police officers very defensive, they believe that officer annoyance leads to a feeling of obligation. If activists are constantly demonstrating and creating a disruption, then the police department might be inclined to address the hostility with the community. A Pacific Islander attorney explained that police officers hold a misconception of activism, and therefore, police officers might view protesters as a thorn on my side. Participants believe there are some police officers, who want to hear everything that we have to say, but then there's that other part who just listens but doesn't want to take action. The majority of activists agree that in order for change to occur police officers need to make an effort to connect with the communities they serve. The lack of change in polices and practice can lead to an interpretation that law enforcement agencies are resisting change because they failed to validate how community members are feeling.
Changes in practice. Most activists believe that police-community relations can improve if changes in policing practices are implemented. A white participant commented that because police officers are meant to be protectors, then they should be open to new suggestions. Several participants mentioned that police lump all of them together and label them as one group, instead of identifying them as separate entities with a common goal. Activists want to educate police departments on their needs and they want the police force to understand their
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demands. According to a research scholar, because police departments are having to respond to community members, this encourages some departments to make efforts to change at the organizational or individual level. Significant efforts have been made in some cities to improve police-community relations. Examples of positive changes in practice include: doing as much interface with community and having formal meetings or informal meetings, town halls. Basically, by starting a conversation between officers and the community members they serve, situations can be de-escalated. Activists want police officers to integrate themselves with similar kids to the ones theyre shooting by meeting the siblings of those who they fatally shot to break bread. Activists explained that while some police officers are volunteering their time to talk to them, other departments, are at least trying to set up places and forums where they can they can listen to what the community wants to say. A black attorney said he has a friend who is a police officer, and who told him I agree, I need to do more as an officer. Even though progress is being made in improving police community relations, there's not enough police officers that stand up for the fact of that police brutality is wrong. In order to fully restore the communities trust in law enforcement, police departments need to change the subculture of the department to identify cases of officer misconduct.
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CHAPTER V
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
Previous research studies on social movements are limited on their analysis of how activist use social media to mobilize. The current movement addressing police use of force is often misunderstood, and hearing the voices of advocates add depth to our understanding.
The key to de-escalating hostile situations between police and community members involves understanding those that are affected by the incident. People of color who live in poor neighborhoods will have a different outlook of police than a white person. According to the research participants, even a white person living in a poverty stricken neighborhood will justify policing practices because their white privilege prohibits them from comprehending the impact those decisions have on people of color. The results of the current study enhance not only the publics knowledge of who are the protesters, but the results also are significant to academia concerning the use of social media and its influence on the criminal justice system. The media attention the current movement is receiving is influencing police-community relations in both positive and negative ways. Many citizens have lost their trust in law enforcement, but activists believe that the police force is capable of having a cultural organizational change. The results from the study suggest that because of social media, activists are able to build a movement and make their demands known more than ever before. Activists may not all think alike, but they are willing to work to address the same issue concerning policing in communities of color. The use of social media by activists is capable of magnifying the problems that have emerged since the Rodney King case with the Los Angeles Police Department in the 1990s. The results also indicate that the creation of a collective consciousness surrounding the useful qualities of social media will connect and
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empower once marginalized groups. The visual recordings of cases of alleged police brutality can now be disseminated through social media platforms, which give the public the power to form their own conclusions and voice their opinions.
Activists value social media and utilize platforms, such as Facebook, to network, organize, spread awareness, and influence change. Not all social media platforms are structured the same, but clearly Facebook and Twitter are a revolutionary resource for people interested injustice work. Facebook was introduced in 2004 before Twitters launch date in 2006. Even though social media is a new phenomenon, it is ironic that Facebook users feel they are old-fashioned compared to other newer platforms. Social media evolves the role of what it means to be an activist and facilitates the distribution of information. However, some people still believe activist work should consist primarily of in-person interactions and relationship. Being able to have conversations and sway minds is feature of justice work that is diminishing because of the structure of posts, such as a 140-character Twitter tweet. The potential for harm is greater when people physically protest in their communities compared to non-existent violence for social media activists. Therefore, more traditional activists have an internal struggle in deciding if they should recognize the credibility of online activists.
The data reveal that not all activists participating in the same movement have the same perspectives. Therefore, police departments should respond to protest events differently depending on the organization or individual that is organizing the protest activity. Not only is it intimidating to see officers arrive in riot gear, but as the data suggests, most protest organized by people of color are peaceful in nature (Kappeler & Kraska, 2013). This observation is in contrast to the images of black and brown thugs that viewers have seen on mainstream media sources. The intended audience of activists is the general public that uses
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social media. The potential impact of a post or tweet can impact police-community relations in any city.
In contrast to the media portrayal of who is participating in protest activities, the movement addressing police use of force does not focus solely on racial tensions. There are historical and current references where race seems to be the reason a white officer might choose to terrorize a poor person of color. Activists are affected by the historical oppression of people of color and they carry that trauma. Conversations regarding the racial tension between communities are taking place across the country, and discussions regarding the concepts of white privilege and subconscious biases are justifying the need for community members to participate injustice work. For the most part, activists in the current movement are focusing more on the demilitarization of the police force, the availability of institutions who can hold officers accountable, and the continuous struggle to restructure the criminal justice system. Through social media, activists are able to express their demands, because according to activists, mainstream media fails have their best interest in mind when reporting. The violent representations of looting and rioting increase ratings, while the peaceful neighborhood meetings fail to gamer the same attention.
Policy Implications
More research based on the analysis of the introduction of social media into protest movements is necessary in order to better understand the current social climate. It is necessary to improve the community relations between law enforcement and police officers. A perspective that looks promising is structured community policing, but it still lacks organization. The implementation of community policing needs to be addressed and planned. By restructuring law enforcement practices, officers might be encouraged through training to
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use more de-escalation techniques other than relying on weapons or tools at their disposal. Law enforcement agencies are making efforts to promote transparency with the communities they serve by encouraging pilot programs to test police body cameras. In addition, changing potential militarization strategies of policing is a start, but it is also necessary to remember to identify possible ways to promote a cultural organizational change within departments. Policing can take a toll on police officers, administrators and community members. By addressing potential stressors, a more productive form of community policing might emerge.
Early intervention can improve the animosity that exists between communities and their local police departments because it might prevent racial tension. When children have positive interactions with police departments, then they might have a more positive perspective on their local police department. A concern of activists is that their local police departments do not have similar racial and ethnic demographics as the community they serve. If children of color are socialized to think highly of police, then more adults of color might apply to the police academy. Early socialization might reconstruct how communities interact with police during potentially hostile situations, such as protest. Instead of inciting more violence, situations can potentially be de-escalated.
The creation of a safe setting where the community can control the direction of the meetings with police representatives is a necessary adjustment that can be implemented. Currently, activists seem to force their way into community meetings. In order to improve the relationship with police, police departments might give the community some power in directing the conversation. Most activist mentioned that they want to start a conversation in a place where they feel they can be heard. In the same setting, police agencies can educate community members on what the police department can do for them. Police representatives
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can also clarify what are the roles of a police officer. During the meetings, officers can provide some clarification on what exactly are the duties of a police officer, and what they can do for communities of color. Some community members do not have an understanding of the criminal justice system, and they make the argument that an officers duty is to protect and serve the community, but they fail to do so when they enforce the laws. If a community is educated on what a police officer can do for them, then this might help in de-escalating hostile situations.
Activists are currently utilizing the Internet to share video and their experiences of protest events, which increases their presence. Activists use of technology in order to record and post on social media is a controversial topic. A legal argument in favor of recording police is that citizens are protected by the Constitution. The Department of Justices (2015) report on the Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department concluded that some constitutional amendments were violated during the 2014 Ferguson protests because of questionable police decision-making in preventing citizens from recording police activities in public settings. In some cases, however, individuals are abusing their right at times by posting the videos or photos out of context. More specific legislation or departmental policies should address the rights of activists. The District of Colombia Metropolitan Police Department has a written policy called, Video recording, Photographing, and Audio Recording of Metropolitan Police Department Members by the Public (District of Colombia, 2012). The policy lists proper departmental protocol, and it also provides clear steps and definitions to avoid misinterpretation. These policies can serve as guides for other departments.
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Conclusion
The present study provided qualitative accounts on an emerging movement that attempts to improve community and police relationships. The results added substantially new perspectives to the literature on social movements. The knowledge gained from conducting this research benefits community members, scholars, and police departments. Local police departments are in need of information that can better guide their interactions with activists. Aggressive confrontations are fueling the negative perceptions of activism and it is a result of media portrayal. This research illustrates how both activist and law enforcement can better understanding police-community relations, but also guides a more considerate implementation of policing in communities of color. Activists will continue to claim their space and voice their opinion, but policing strategies can help officers adapt and de-escalate hostile situations. A proclamation written by Assata Shakur, a black civil rights activist, is used at many Colorado protest activities, and a chorus can be heard every time activists recite:
It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.
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APPENDIX A
INFORMED CONSENT
About the Study
This research is designed to explore the relationship between activists use of social media (i.e., Facebook and Twitter) and the social movements focus on policing in marginalized communities. The study aims to gather information regarding social activists use of Facebook and Twitter, and how the dynamics of this social movement are perceived as affecting community relations with police. Research will be conducted through nonparticipant observation of activists events and through in-depth interviews with activists from two cities in Colorado. Interviews will last approximately one hour. The use of social media by activists is a recent development and an area that needs further research. The current research will be essential in establishing a rich narrative of how injustice can be challenged through the perspectives of diverse community members.
Voluntary Participation
The choice of whether to participate in this study is completely up to you. Your participation is completely voluntary, and refusal to participate will involve no penalty to you. If you decide to participate in the study, you have the right to withdraw your consent or discontinue participation at any time. You also have the right to refuse to answer any question you do not wish to answer.
Confidentiality
All of your answers and comments are confidential. Your responses to interview questions will be protected according to professional standards established by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Colorado Denver. The information you provide will only be reported in aggregate form. Access to raw data is limited to the researcher and graduate student working on this project. The data will be securely stored for a three year time period only.
Benefits and Risks to Participation
Although you may not directly benefit from completing this interview, this research will provide you with the opportunity to present your perspectives and opinions about the
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importance and goals of social activism. The minimal risks to you participation may include feelings of discomfort regarding any particular interview question.
Researcher Contact Information
If you have any questions or concerns about the research study, please contact Nancy Contreras by phone (805) 501-3093 or e-mail: Nancy.Contreras@ucdenver.edu. If you have any questions about your rights as a participant, you may contact the Human Subjects Research Committee Administrator, 1201 Larimer St., Denver, CO, 80210, at (303) 556-2400.
Thank you for your support,
Nancy Contreras, Principal Investigator Mary Dodge, Ph.D.
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APPENDIX B
INTERVIEW PROTOCOL
1. What are your goals for protesting against police agencies?
a. What do you hope to accomplish?
2. How do you use social media to distribute your message?
a. What types of social media?
b. Which types seem to be more successful?
c. Why are those types more successful?
3. How is social media influencing the movement to address police use of force?
4. What are positive aspects of protest activities?
5. What are negative aspects of protest activities?
6. How can protests influence public perceptions of law enforcement?
7. From your perspective, how do you define social activism?
a. Are there different types?
b. Are there different activist roles?
8. Do you believe the police are hearing your message?
9. Do you see any divisiveness among the protest groups themselves?
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APPENDIX C
DONT SHOOT LYRICS
By: Ajonte Hinton, Colorado Artist
Verse:
I seen the pictures,
I honestly feel the pain,
Scandalous how they murder our generation everyday,
Tired of them killing us,
I'm on my way to Ferguson,
Talk to dizzy,
Family safe,
Thankfully during this,
Mother praying,
Hoping every night I make it home,
We ain't gotta chalk the streets,
Just to give our people hope,
I seen J.Cole out there,
Wishing I could make a change, Zimmerman off trial,
People cry,
Others just celebrate,
They killing dreams,
They killing teens,
That's a issue,
Mothers cry,
While children's dye,
Here's ya tissue,
We gotta stick together,
Cause we all we got,
Police don't really help
cause they the ones taking the shots,
(Pow, Pow)
Emitt till was young,
Y'all ain't have to take his life,
Ezell ford I hope your living a blessing life, Just know people,
Everything is gonna be alright,
Trayvon and mike brown death,
That ain't even right,
History repeats itself,
Like the same instrumental,
Americas a glass house,
My revenge is something very mental,
Ima be real about it,
And ima say it loud,
Like James Brown said,
I am black and I am proud,
I still don't understand,
The pain that falls deep around,
Ima live a great life,
Just to sit and make my family proud, Staying out of trouble,
Staying out the streets,
I pray to god,
Nothing ever happens to me...
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Full Text

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! AN EXPLORATION OF SOCIAL PROTESTS AND POLICING: DOES SOCIAL MEDIA UNDERMINE THE MESSAGE? by NANCY CONTRERAS B.S in Criminal Justice California Lutheran University, 2013 B.A. in Sociology, California Lutheran University, 2013 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Criminal Justice Criminal Justice Program 2016

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"" This thesis for the Master of Criminal Justice degree by Nancy Contreras has been approved for the Criminal Justice Program by Mary Dodge Chair Callie Rennison Lucy Dwight July 30, 2016

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""" Nancy Contreras (M.C.J., Criminal Justice) An Exploration of Social Protests and Policing : Does Social Media Undermine the Message? Thesis directed by Professor Mary Dodge ABSTRACT Few studies have explored the goals and means of recent protests that are calling attention to police use of force in marginalized communities. This research explores activist ideology, social media practices in organizing protests and perceived community relations with law enforcement Resource mobilization theory is applied to the current protest activities against police misconduct to describe the use of social media as a means to create social protest and reform I nternet enhanc ed activism is analyzed to explain changes in the traditional responsibilities and contributions of activists and to describe the negative impact the social media ha ve on activism In addition, moral panic is used as a theoretical framework to explain pol ice community relations Discussion of the policy implications identifies the need for alternate ways of policing and judicial review of activists' rights in protest activities. The findings expand existing scholarship and are essential in establishing a r ich narrative of how perceived and real injustice can be challenged through the perspectives of diverse community members. The form and content of this abstract are approved I recommend its publication. Approved: Mary Dodge

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"# DEDICATION I dedicate my thesis to Mary Dodge, Ignacio Contreras and my family Y ou empower me everyday t o become a better sch olar and person. Your support and constant en couragement continue to make a difference in my life. Mary I am eternally grateful that you b ecame a part of my journey. You are a knowledgeable professor and an insightful advisor, which I admire. I am fortunate that you are my Gilbert Geis because you are my inspiration on my upcoming path towards a doctorate The completion of this thesis would not have been possible without your mentorship Ignacio you are a part of my life, and I know that my graduate school program became a part of your life as well. Thank you for your love patience, and never ending support that gave me the perseverance I needed to fulfill the requirements of my thesis. To my family thank you for always believing in me Mom and Dad you came to this country in search of a prosperous life and my accomplishments are a result of the unimaginable risks you have taken. Brother, knowing that you are cheering me on motivated me to complete my thesis

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# ACKNOWLEDGEMENT This thesis would not have been possible without the guidance of my advisor, Mary Dodge. Thank you for your support in every aspect of my experience here at the University of Colorado Denver Your passion in research incites in me an appr eciation for qualitative methodology which ultimately shap ed the subject matter and methodology of my thesis. Dr. Callie Rennison and Dr. Lucy Dwight thank you for serving on my committee Callie your insights and comments challenged me to think critically about social movements. The completion of m y thesis would not have been possible without your valuable feedback Lucy, thank you for your support throughout my graduate program It was a pleasure being a student in your class. The discussions you facilitated contributed to the development of my thesis I am also grateful that I have your support in pursuing a doctoral education. Finally, I would like to thank all of the activists whose experience and perspectives contributed immensely to my r esearch study. Their pa rticipation allowed me to learn about complex issues influencing police community relations

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#" TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION ... 1 II. LITERATURE REVIEW 4 The Accumulation of Cases 4 Historical Influence .. 6 Moral Panic Framework .. 7 Social Media Platforms .. 1 1 Protest Activities 13 Social Movement ... 14 Resource Mobilization ... 16 Internet Enhanced Activism .. 20 Consequences of Internet Enhanced Activism .. 23 III. METHOD .. 27 Sampling 27 Data Collection ... 29 Non Participant O bservation ... 29 Interview .. 29 Ethical C onsiderations 31 Analysis 32 Data Analysis P rocedures 32 Methods for V erification 32 Limitations ... 32

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#"" IV. RESULTS .. 34 Versatility of Social Activism 34 Social Media Tools 35 Facebook .. 38 Twitter .. 38 Disadvantages .. 39 Community Awareness 40 Unification and Destructiveness of Acts of Resistance 41 Unification .. 42 Destructiveness ... 44 Divisiveness Among Activist Groups 46 Online Activist 46 The Role of the White Activist 48 Competition 50 Age vs. Experience 50 Tactics .... .. 51 Ideologies 53 (De)construction of Law Enforcement and Policing 54 Individual v. Insti tution 55 Accountability ...... 56 Militarization Practices 56 Perception of Policing in Communities of Color 57

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#""" Resistance ... 58 Changes in Practice .. 59 V. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION ... 61 Policy Implicati ons 63 Conclusion 65 REFERENCES .. 67 APPENDIX A. Informed Consent .. 72 B. Interview Protocol .. 74 C. Don't Shoot Lyrics 75

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"$ LIST OF TABLES TABLE 1. Most Common Uses of Facebook by Activists .. ....................... ...... 3 8 2. Observed Acts of Resistance .. 42

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% CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The criminal justice system grants law enforcement officers the power to employ discretion in their use of force. Law enforcement officials have the authority to use less than lethal or lethal force when they perceive an individual to be a threat at that specific moment. Current police use of force cases, combined with the publicity of social media, ha s led communities to believe that police officers are engaging in excessive use of force Many online v ideos, tweets, I nstagram, and Facebook postings are portraying police and public interaction s that undermine confidence in law enforc ement, and contribute to a high level of distrust on both sides During the Ferguson and Baltimore riots, for example, activists had the technology to record the militarized police practices and share their videos globally on social media. Th ese perspectives helped generat e solidarity and support for protests against police at a national and international level. The advancements in technology have facilitated the recording of police pract ices and the distribution of videos. The role of activists has changed because of the different methods of participating facilitated by technology. There are increased opportunities for individuals associated with marginalized social groups to contribute to the various political movement s and protests Activists have multiple resources at t heir disposal. One controversy related to activism is whether a presence on social media represents true dedication to a movement because users lack the street credibility of physically participating in the community. Social media resources also enhance the way community groups organize when the planning takes place via the Internet but the activist s come together in person to execute their p rotests

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2 When police officers confront activists in high tension environments problems often arise Frustrated community members make the decision to do something to address the perceived unfair treatment of activists by police agencies. Community members join activist street efforts and mobilize to increase the number of people expressing t heir concerns about law enforcement Media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, used by social activist s disperse the videos and images of perceived police misconduct during protests and consequently, communities' trust in law enforcement is undermine d Confrontations between the police and community activists in cities across the country have become constant corporate media headlines The use of social media by activists is a recent development and an area that requires further research. Previous literature on social movements has analyzed the resources that activists have at their disposal. S ocial movement studies include a media and a communication perspective. Th is study is an exploration of social media and the perspectives of activists about t heir efforts to change interactions, in both positive and negatives way, with local law enforcement. The majority of p revious studies on activism and social media focus on international social movements. In 2010, Chopae an online community based in Korea, arose to terminate a conservative newspaper known for its bias by organizing through Twitter ( Choi & Park, 2014 ) In 201 1 the movement known as Arab Spring motivated several democratic uprisings in various countries ( Gonz‡lez Bail—n, Borge Holthoefer, & Moreno, 2013) Media sources describe Arab Spring as the Facebook revolutions ( Harlow & Guo, 2014 ). In 2011, t he I ndignados (outraged) movement in Spain utilized Facebook and Twitter to mobilize ( Gonz‡lez Bail—n et al., 2013) The current study is based on United States protest mobilization in Colorado

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3 There are several questions that remain unanswered by previous research. How does social media influence activism? What are the dynamics between activists and police in th e current movement? How do protest activities help or harm police community relations? The present research provides a qualitative contribution to literature related to how s ocial media is used as a resource for protest activities that address police use of force. Moreover, the re search explor es the activists' perspectives of protest activities in their communities using moral panic as a framework The research employs qualitative methods (i.e., in depth, semi structured interviews and non participant observation) to explore if soc ial media undermines the messages of activists. Chapter 2 in cludes a literature review of the moral panic framework, resource mobilization theory, social media platforms, social movements, and it also identif ie s cases where perceived excessive use of force has led to significant protest clashes with local police departments. Chapter 3 explains the exploratory methodology of the study in detail. Chapter 4 present s a thematic analysis o f the original data Finally C hapter 5 identifies policy implications and th e potential for future research

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4 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW The Accumulation of Cases On February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman, who participated in a volunteer ne ighborhood watch, fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a black 17 year old in Florida. This event fueled the current movement against the criminal justice system in general because a jury acquitted George Zimmerman in 2013. Th e case generated the # BlackLivesMatter hashtag on social media and i t became the new slogan of the movement against police use of force ( Dahl, 2013 ) A hashtag is "a keyword assigned to information" that organizes information by topics or events on the I nternet (Small, 2011). On August 09, 2014, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown, an 18 year old African American. In itial eyewitness testimony reported that Brown raised his hands to give up before he was shot. Further investigations by a grand jury and the Department of Justice found no eviden ce that supported these statements and the witnesses later recanted In November 2014, a Missouri g rand j ury found insufficient ev idence to issue an indictment of Wilson for the death of Michael Brown. Demonstrations and violent protests erupt ed in Ferguso n, as well as in other major cities across the United States (Brown, 2015 ) The activists raise d their hands and use d the slogan, "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" in memory of Brown. In support of the demonstrations several hashtags were created including # H ands U p D ont S hoot and #JusticeForMikeBrown ( O'Neil, 2014 ) The Missouri governor declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard to help local law enforcement control the rioting (Brown, 2015 ) In July 2014, New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo put Eric Garner a 43

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5 year old African American, in a chokehold for 15 seconds leading to his death. Civilians videotaped the incident Th e case receive d little media attention until the grand jury decision was announced On December 03, 2014, a grand jury in New York City decided not to indict officer Pantaleo for the death of Garner and he became another face for the movement against police use of force (Newman, 2014 ) Activists took on another new slogan, "I can't breathe which became the tr ending hashtag # IC ant B reathe and #7minutes, d escribing the 7 minutes Garner was lying on the ground after the chokehold ( DeHahn, 2014 ) These were the last words Garner said in the recorded videos (Newman, 2014 ) In November 2014, two Cleveland, Ohio officers fatally shot Tamir Rice, a 12 year old African American in a park. According to a reported 911 call, Rice had a gun. After the shooting, the officers discovered it was a gun replica (Brekke, 2015 ) This shooting further fueled the protests in Ferguson and in other parts of the country The trending hashtag #ToMsRice was used by activists to offer condolences to Rice's mother and express their commitment to the rising frustration with police use of force (King, 201 5) Additionally, Rice's age attracted enormous amounts of social media coverage because he was a child fatally shot by police officers (Brekke, 2015 ) On January 26, 2015, two De nver police officers fatally sh ot Jessica Hernandez, a 17 year old Latina, in a moving vehicle. This case spread through social media because Hernandez self identified as a member of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transexual and Queer (LGBTQ) community (Gurman, 2015 ) The hashtag #Justice4Jessie w as trending to spread awareness about this case (Presente.org, 2015) Additionally her gender appeared to play a part in the outrage expressed by the community Protests over police use of force continued in Denver and in other major cities (Gurman, 2015 )

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6 On April 04, 2015, North Charleston police officer Michael Slager fatal ly shot Walter Scott, a 50 year old African American. The difference in this case is that this incident in South Carolina was reco rded on video and the officer was arrested on April 7 th and ch arged with first degree murder (Martinez, 2015 ) The hashtag #WalterScott was utilized on social media platforms to share the video of the shooting ( Silverstein, 2015 ) The protest movement against police use of force celebrated the arrest on soci al media (Martinez, 2015 ) On April 19, 2015, Baltimore police officers arrest ed Freddie Gray, a 25 year old African American. During transportation, G ray alledgedly fell and injur ed his spinal cord. Gray went in to a coma and was later pronounced dead. Violent protests took place and the governor declared a state of emergency and requested the National Guard intercede (Ortiz, 2015 ) Community members were using hashtags, such as #BaltimoreRiots and #BaltimoreUprising to express their frustration with Gray's death joining the numerous highly publicized cases where people of color became victims of lethal police use of force (Khan, 2016). On May 1 2015 s ix officers were arrested on different charges (Ortiz, 2015 ) In June 2016, the trial of the first officer resulted in an acquittal and dozens of protestors expressed their frustration over the verdict The remaining five officers still face charges and potential trials. Historical I nfluence People of color are survivors of historical oppression, prejudice, and discrimination. In the United States, forced slavery contributed to the victimization of African Americans. Also, Jim Crow laws made r acial segreg ation legally acceptable (Guffey, 2012) From 1955 to 1968 t he Civil Rights M ovement le d by Mart in Luther King Jr., an activist who practiced nonviolent social change, drew attention to the racial discrimination that violated the rights of

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7 African Americans ( About Dr. King 2014 ) T he Separate but Equal Doctrine bridged Jim Crow practices and the end of the Civil Rights era. P eople of colo r however, continue to have poor relations with the criminal justice system in part because m en of color are arrested and incarcera ted at a disproportionate rate ( Alexander, 2012; Fagan, West, & Holland, 2003; Goffman, 2014; Vogel, 2011 ). Minorities perceive that law enforcement officials are racial ly profiling marginalized communities because people of color are also the victims of "poverty, incarceration, school dropouts, lack of secure housing and other socially significant factors ," at a disproportionate rate (Smiley & Fakunle, 2016 p. 362 ) T he events in Ferguson and other cities, further encourage people of color to participa te in mobilizing a national social movement to combat what is viewed as excessive use of force by police officers The protest efforts are facilitated because of technological advancements and the development of social media which is instantaneous and widespread Katz (2115) argue d that m arginalized communities have lost trust in law enforcement and i n the criminal justice system. Social media facilitates the communication of messages ( Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010) Therefore, activists utilize social med ia to disperse messages and spread awareness for their cause. Moral Panic Framework Understanding how incidents transition into a moral panic is crucial in analyzing current police community relations E ven before community members decide to become activists, media sources socialize viewers to perceive incidents as problematic issue s that need their attention and efforts. Anyone who has access to form of traditional corporate media sources or social media is socialized to perceive t heir cause or perceived situation as a true problem. The current social problem of nationwide protest against police use of force

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8 can be examined from a moral panic perspective. The framework initiated as a response to existing social issue s but i t can be applied to analyze the rising tension between community members and law enforcement. Traditional media and social media create the necessary components to contribute to a moral panic, especially in marginalized communities (Surette, 2015) A single person is bombarded with images of police abusing their authority. At the receiving end, media portrays minorities, specifically b lacks, as the victims of violence perpetrated by police. I mages of violence and abuse of power create a concern in communities across the nation. According to Goode and Ben Yehuda (1994), concern is the first necessary component of a moral panic. They explain that a moral panic requires a "heightened lev el of concern over the behavior of a certain group or category and the cons equences that that behavior presumably causes for the rest of society" (Goode & Ben Yehuda, 1994, p. 156). If a community fails to perceive a situation to be a concern then there will be no moral panic. In recent cases, the concern has been that primarily b lack males are being disproportionately shot in interactions with law enforcement personnel. Jenkins (2009) adds that ordinary individuals need to be concerned that they have an opportunity of encountering the repercussions of their concern. The citizens of a b lack community might be more likely to believe that they can be the next victims of deadly police force In addition, the concern needs to be credible to the community because of previous social movements or historical circumstances that have laid th e foundation for the current concern (Jenkins, 2009). Poor relationships make the current concern that law enforcement are not trying to protect b lacks realistic for certain communities. The second component of a moral panic is that hostility needs to be evident. A moral

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9 panic requires an "increased level of hostility toward the category of people seen as engaging in the threatening behavior which creates an us versus them dichotomy (Goode & Ben Yehuda, 1994, p. 157). A moral panic needs to have at leas t two opposing or competing forces, such as heroes or villains (Jenkins, 2009 ). This opposition creates the necessary hostility. T he hostility however, is subjective and it is based on the perspective of the witnesses. Current incidents have instigated activists to view police officers as the villains and vice versa. The third component necessary to create a moral panic is a general consensus in the community that there is a concern. There needs to be some agreement between communities "that threat is real, serious, and caused by wrongdoing of group members and their behavior" (Goode & Ben Yehuda, 1994, p. 157). For activists the threat is serious because it lead s to the death of young b lack males. Jenkins adds that the media reports need to be compreh ensible and that "there should be some standard faces or settings that can be used as stereotypical points of reference" (Jenkins, 2009, p. 45). The Los Angeles Rodney King riots and the acquittal of the officers in that case serve as a stereotypical refer ence. The concern might take many years to develop before the communities are in a state of moral panic where they feel the need to protest. Not every death at the hands of police leads to a protest The consensus needs to include a perceived outcome or so lution (Jenkins, 2009). The protesters of police use of force have a general goal to save b lack lives. If the person of color commits a crime the solution is for them to go through the traditional criminal justice process in a fair and just manner, hamper ed by neither discrimination nor violence at the hands of law enforcement While the criminal justice continues to struggle with the elimination of discrimination, the prison population suggests change and reform are still necessary ( Bryan,

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10 Haldipur, Marti n & Ull rich, 2015) The fourth component of moral panic is that there needs to be a level of disproportionality in concern. Goode and Ben Yehuda (1994) explain that the concern needs to be out of proportion to the threat. This c omponent varies depending on perspective. For activists, as a b lack male, is your life in danger just because of your skin color at the hands of police? For law enforcement and government officials, are protesters a real danger to their own community that requires paramilitary met hods to control ? Goode and Ben Yehuda (1994) argue that the reactions of the media, law enforcement, politicians, action groups, and the general public are out of proportion to the real and present danger a given threat poses to the society" ( p. 156). Perspectives about the probability of victimization and violent actions of individuals or law enforcement feed moral panic. The final component in order to identify a moral panic is volatility. Volatility in the context of a moral panic means that the pan ic may erupt suddenly but just as quickly it can subside ( Goode & Ben Yehuda, 1994). The reactions of the community or law enforcement are temporary and the possib ility of danger only exists when the five moral panic components are coexisting at the same m oment in time. Specific components of a mor al panic might last decades, but the interaction of the moral panic as a whole will rarely last a long time. Van Laer and Van Aelst (2010) support this claim when social media is introduced because, "growth in sup port is often followed by an even faster decline in support" ( p. 1163). Cohen (2002) fir st coined the term moral panic but not ed the negative connotation of the term. H e suggested the phrase good moral panic' to describe a situation where, the concern e xpressed is regarded as legitimate and proportionate" ( as cited in David et al., 2011, p. 222). G ood moral panic fails to rise to an exaggerated community reaction. Cohen believes

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11 that a successful moral panic has the ability to produce such changes as those in legal and social policy or even in the way society conceives itself" (Goode & Ben Yehuda, 1994, p. 156). Therefore, the community reaction might be disproportionate, but it will create change. Social media is not a requir ed component of moral panics, but it has had an impact on moral panics and the community. M edia content now includes many previously unheard voices (David et al., 2011, p. 220). Social media offers low income and marginalized communities a manner to enga ge in public policy Cohen describes moral panics as becoming more prominent because individuals have the opportunity to participate and more media space is available to disseminate their views ( as cited in David et al., 2011 ). Social media also allows mor al panics to foster disproportionate beliefs, fears and indeed moral panic in audiences" (David et al., 2011, p. 223). When taking into consideration Cohen's (2002) good moral panic, media access fosters positive perspectives because it gives a voice to those that were formerly more marginalized" (David et al., 2011, p. 226). Social Media Platforms Social media platforms provide previously unheard communities a voice. Facebook and Twitter are especially useful platforms to activists trying to spread awa reness regarding cases where police use fatal fo rce against a person of color. Facebook is comprised of a billion users worldw ide and 95 million in the United States ( Teresi & Michelson, 2015 p. 201 ) Facebook allows any person to create an a ccount then the users can, create a Facebook group to support a social/political goal and gather support of friends and other Facebook mem bers ( Vissers & Stolle, 2014 p. 260 ). An activist can create a Facebook group and invite other users to join their group and share their similar perspectives Facebook allows users to engage in less demanding activist activities, such as l iking" or s haring"

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12 material on their timeline for the distribution of information ( Vissers & Stolle, 2014). People can have access to F acebook o n a mobile application or from any computer connected to the Internet Therefore, a person can participate in information diffusion from various locations at their convenience by liking or sharing a post The newsfeed component of Facebook allows users who may be un aware of an issue to see what others in their network are liking or sharing. Therefore, users might be exposed to new information that they were un aware of and develop an interest in the new subj ect matter. The only cost to a Facebook user is the time it takes to recruit other users and to develop their postings ( Teresi & Michelson, 2015 ) Consequently, Facebook is a user friendly platform that activists use to spread awareness. Twitter is also a social media platform that provides opportunities for networking. Raynauld & Greenberg ( 2014) describe Twitter as a free microblogging service with internal community building capabilities that enable the publication of posts (p. 414). Facebook is focused on adding "friends" to a network, where Twitter emphasizes networking with strangers who can "follow" anyone with an account. A major difference with th e latter platform is that it limits its users to create status updates, "tweets," no longer than 140 typed characters ( Small, 2011) The character limit, "forces users to express themsel ves in a brief and often impre cise manner ( Raynauld & Greenberg, 2014 p. 414 ) Even though this social media platform might not share accurate information, it can influence the creation of a moral panic and encourage mo bilization. Twitter users can share "eyewitness accounts with others all around the world" ( Small, 2011 p. 873 ). Users can twe et photographs and videos with the purpose of increasing visibility to any events they are witnessing. The character limit allows users to quickly post what they are thinking or experiencing just during one moment. Facebook and Twitter allow an individual's voice to be heard nationally and globally.

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13 Facebook and Twitter give more people an opportunity to express their perspectives than traditional media. In addition, Facebook and Twitter are not controlled to the same degree as corporate medi a. Therefore, activists have more liberty in deciding what to post or tweet regarding their causes. Visibility of issues affecting communities is increased by social media platforms because the acquired knowledge might encourage users to take action outsid e of their cyber participation. Protest Activities P rotests activities used in the movement addressing police use of force vary and constantly evolve Rat liff and Hall (2014) identify six types of protests activities. First, activists might prefer literal symbolic, aesthetic, and sensory protests activities, which include holding signs, verbal speeches, theater performance, and destroying objects. These choices in activities tend to be more artistically expressive. Edwards and Kane (20 14) also suggest that cultural resources can be created through music, literature, blogs web pages, or films/videos" (p. 216) Anything that is an art form fits in this category. Second, other protest activities utilize movement in space, which include marches, parades, picket lines, and bicycling" (Ratliff & Hall, 2014, p. 281). This activity is typically stereotyped as an event that all activists participate in Traditional m edia outlets for example, often show images of marches on the news. Third, solemnity and sacred activities are associated with a loss or death. These activities include "vigils, prayer, protests in a church service format, candle lighting, cross carrying, hunger strikes, laying wreaths, moments of silence and dedications" (Ratliff & Hall, 2014, p. 281). C ases where people of color died because of fatal police use of force often prompt citizens to engage in sacred protest activities. Fourth, civil disobedience activities include "withhold ing obligations, sit ins, blockades, building occupations,

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14 bannering, and camping out" (Ratliff & Hall, 2014, p. 282). Under the current movement against police use of force, the activity termed die in fits in this category. Die ins consist of having activ ists lying on the ground in streets, parks, and other locations. Social media plays an important role in organizing civil disobedience activities. Van Laer and Van Aelst ( 2010 ) note that social movement organizations wanting to mobilize for a mass street demonstration make extensive use of the internet to enhance coordination and mobilize efforts" ( p. 1152). In most cases, one concern of social a ctivists is to avoid arrests; more experienced protestors attempt to coordinate activities online through social media by giving advice on legal behavior Fifth, institutional and conventional activities include press conferences, lawsuits, lobbying, and meeting candidates (Ratliff & Hall, 2014). These activities might be more likely to produce social change, but ot her types of activities labeled as looting or rioting generate more traditional mainstream media attention. New social media activists share postings that provide different perspective s to the same reporting presented in mainstream media with the purpose o f inciting conversations within their communities The last type of activity is the category of violence and threats. These activities might include "pushing or shoving, hitting or punching, damaging property, object throwing, other physical force, verbal threats of violence, and use of incendiary devices or bomb threats" (Ratliff & Hall, 2014, p. 283). More violent events appear to be less coordinated activities or un planned. For the most part, these events lead to arrest, which is undesirable for other ty pes of activists Social Movement Activist participation in protest activi ties leads to the creation of social group s or organization s where people share the similar belief s and ideologies If protest activities have

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15 enough participants who are consistently showing up to the events and receive significant attention from various media platforms, then the protest activities can create the consciousness necessary to create a social movement. Social movements are defined as networks of informal inte raction between a plurality of individuals, groups and/or organizations, engaged in a political or cultural conflict on the basis of a shared collective identity" (Diani, 1992, p. 13). The activists become known acquaintances and build relationships becaus e they share perspectives surrounding the subject matter of the protest. A ctivists in the movement addressing police use of force for example, share common perspective s of spreading awareness and reforming the criminal justice system The creation of a social movement depends on several factors in order to increase public attention. Gerlach and Hine (1970) describe five significant components of a true social movement. First, a social movement needs to be comprised of diverse groups tha t have ties hold ing them together. Beliefs and overlapping ideologies can solidify a movement. A shared belief in the movement addressing police use of force is that the militarization of law enforcement influences the decision an officer might make in whether to use less than or lethal force (Kappeler & Kraska, 2013; Kraska & Cubellis, 1997 ) Second, recruitment is based on social relationships. I n the 19 70 when these factors were identified, recruitment was limited to in person interactions. Now, soci al media facilitates recruitment. Third, people need to have a personal commitment to change something based on new acquired values. The movement addressing police use of force is comprised of people with diverse backgrounds, but their comm itment to spread awareness gives them an opportunity to learn and prioritize their attention toward issues affecting marginalized communities. Fourth, a social movement needs an ideology that creates structure by arranging a system based on goals and means to

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16 move towards progressive change. Activists have a common ideology to address excessive police use of force by organizing events that promote their goals thereby creating a collective consciousness around the issue Last, Gerlach and Hine (1970) identify that social movements need opposition from those who create an established order in society or in particular communities. Black Lives Matter for example, has received opposition from various sources ranging from conservative community members police unions and politicians Clearly, activists participation in protest activities ha s evolved into a social movement with the potential of influencing public perceptions of law enforcement. R esource M obilization The organization and mobilization of social movements can influence the impact of activists' message or target goal. In order to better understand social movements, Edwards and Kane (2014) published a typology of five resource types. The typology describes how activists utilize resources during mobilization. First, material resources include money and physical items that individuals have in their possession Money g ives power to social movements because it can be converted into other types of resources" ( Edwards & Kane, 2014, p. 212). Activists can use money or material goods to print banners, fliers, and souvenirs. Money can also be exchanged for necessary services, such as legal counsel. In the movement against police use of force money often is used to pay for the funeral services for the deceased or in pay ing bail of the arrested activists Organizations or activists participating in the protests may ask for financial donations. Individuals who d onate money are participating in support ing the protests and there is usually minimal or no risk ( Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010 ). The donation of money is a safe way to advocate for a cause

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17 Second, human resources include supporters or participants of social protests When the media shows images of protests, a variety of activists may be attending the event Those individuals have different roles in the protests and they control their own labor or participation in the protest ( Edwards & Kane, 2014 ). Usually in protes ts, there is at least one member of the community who is a leading activist of the protest activities. For the most part, the participants are volunteering their time. Having a massive number of volunteers is a crucial resource for the success of a protest ( Edwa rds & Kane, 2014 ). The more activists present during a protest demonstration, the more likely it is to draw the attention of the media. Edwards and Kane (2014) describe human resources as capital because protest participan ts are diverse in experience, skills, expertise, and knowledge In order for a protest to be successful, activists need to be executing task s in which they excel. A n activist for example, who is comfortable with public speaking will most likely be successful in reciting chants. Someone who has credentials in computer graphic arts often create logos to represent the protest. Third, cultural resources include activists who have previous ex perience in being an advocate or protest ing and who know the different roles or rules of being an activist Fuist ( 2013) defines culture as ways of life, group traditions and rituals, and shared meaning and languages" ( p. 1045). Protests that draw attention and spread awareness are composed of individuals who understand what it means to be an activist. Activists will arrive at the chosen location and they will know exactly what to do and what to expect. Cultural resources facili tate the recruitment and socialization of new adherents and help movements maintain their readiness and capacity for collective action" (Edwards & Kane, 2014, p. 216). An acti vist with prior experience already know s what tools to utilize in order to gain more

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18 followers. The activists with experience will teach new individuals who are passionate about a cause how to use their passion effectively in a protest. According to Fuist (2013), the formation and maintenance of a collective identity is a prerequisite for mobilization and collective action A collective identity allows leaders in activism to have a level of control over the protest. A leader might be giving orders during the protest to make sure that everyone kno ws their roles Activists also need to have control over new activists in order to protect their safety. Cultural resources constantly evolve and activists have to adapt to new ways of protesting ( Edwards & Kane, 2014 ). The introduction of social media changed how activist recruit and spread awareness. Older activists need to recruit human resources who know how to use technology in order to take advantage of the current social climate. Fourth, moral resources includ e solidarity and support from fellow activists, members in th e community, individuals in positions of power, or in social media. Edwards and Kane (2014) describe moral resources as, legitimacy, authenticity, solidary support, sympathetic support, and c ele brity" ( p. 217). A cause without support will be un able to accomplish its goals. The movement against police use of force has support because anecdotal stories are shared among community members As previously mentioned, the histor ical treatment of minorities in the United States add s credibility to the cause. Twitter is a social media platform that is used as a tool and a resource in social protests to promote and form solidarity For example, "active retweeting by members appeared t o help form collective identity by showing fast responsiveness, affirmative validation, and emotional support for others' opinions" (Choi & Park, 2014, p. 142). Even though the interaction of individuals is online, they are able to form relationshi ps and identify common interest. The activists on T witter look for new individuals to recruit. They are

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19 paying attention to who responds to their messages or likes their postings which support s their opin ions. According to Choi and Park (2014) "the act of retwee ting seemed to play an important role in forming group solidarity and making a symbolic expression as a political act" (p. 141). The symbolic expression is the retweeting because the follower is acknowledging that the information is of value and they want to share with their own followers. Moral resources are created and multiplied when credentialing individuals or organizations within society approve or support the goals and actions of the movement (Edwards & Kane, 2014 ). Credentialing individuals might include celebrities, people working in government or leading activists in the cause During the Ferguson protests celebrities showed their support of the movement by physically attending the protest, taking a picture with a symbol of the protest, or posting a message on social media Fifth, socio organizational resources include strategies, such as the use of social media, implemented to organize the movement and create relationships between activists Edwards and Kane (20 14) explain that socio organizational resources are produced when movements form organizations, cultivate networks of allies, form issue coalitions, establish communication networks with web pages and blogs, or use social media to maintain Facebook pages and Twitt er feeds" ( p. 220). This is a resource where social media enhances the movement. O nline organizing requires only a few individuals to take significant action in order to enable the masses (Earl et al., 2014 ) The movement against police use of force utilizes Facebook and Twitter to send messages to the community and organize events. Pre existing social relationships or organizations between activists, facilitates the emergence, mobilization, varied activities, and spatial distribution of social movements" (Edwards & Kane, 2014, p. 215). Therefore, it is in the best interest of the movement to interact with

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20 acti vists on social media before a protest. Moral resources, such as group solidarity, can form from socio organizational resources (Edwards & Kane, 2014 ) Individuals are constantly interacting on social media and they can begin to form solidarity for the cause. According to Choi and Park (2014), "some connections with members that were initiated online turned into strong ties through shared a wareness, collective identity, and shared responsibility" (p. 142). Internet based solidarity is a new cultural phenomenon that is becoming more prevalent because individuals have the capacity to interact with a larger network of people. Recruitment is f acilitated because the Internet and social media are widely accessible ( Edwards & Kane, 2014 ). Even if someone lacks the luxury of private Internet there are various public space s that offer free wireless Internet connection A positive aspect of organizing through social media is that the costs are minimal or close to non existent (Earl et al., 2014 ) The social organization resources function to further the goals of the movement (Edwards & Kane, 2014 ). Even if social media is used to network with individuals, the goal is to collectively protest police use of force. Resource mobilization clearly identifies how social protests utilize technology to promote their cause. The evolution of the Internet and s ocial media platforms has decreased the amount of resources necessary to initiate social change. However, adequate resources are necessary in order for a social protest to achieve its goals Internet Enhanced Activism Th e I nternet and social media have revolutionized what it means to be an activist. There are several different avenues for participating in a movement and ultimately in a social protest. Activism is more efficient, but it has not been changed by Internet usage (Earl et al., 2014 ). Jeroen Van Laer and Peter Van Aelst (2010) describe how, "social movements have

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21 become easier to organize and coordinate thanks to the Internet (p. 1148). The Internet and social media do not replace in person activism. Individuals are still marching in the streets. Also, o nline efforts do not replace the emotional impact of a mass demonstration. There are new uses of the Internet related to activism. First, the Broch ure ware describe s when the Internet is used only to distribute and provide information (Earl et al., 2014; Earl et al., 2010 ) Brochure ware sites have no other purpose other than to present information. The website m ay only be used to distribute information about the reasons and goals of a protest ( Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010 ). Second, the Online Participation use consists of having a space online for individuals or activists to participate (Ear l et al., 2014 ; Earl et al., 2010 ) This approach might be in the f orm of electronically signing a petition or donating money on a secure website Van Laer and Van Aelst (2010) provide an example of Online Participation : "a nyone with a Facebook pr ofile can form a group against/ or in favor of a particular case and invite other members to sign' this cause by becoming a member of this group" ( p. 1156). Third, the Online Organizing use allows movements to organize completely online in websites, blogs, or l istserves (Earl et al., 2014 ; Earl et al., 2010 ) The last type of Internet use is Online Facilitation of Offline Activism, which consists of using website to present information, organize and coordinate upcoming offline protests (Earl et al. 2014 ; Earl et al., 2010 ). This type of use serves as a way to distribute information and share a guide of recommendation to the general public about a planned protest Online Facilitation might be the preferred method because "the internet allows for the quick dissemination of mes sages about time and place ( Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010, p. 1155). The information reaches a large audience within a couple of seconds. Van Laer and Van Aelst (2010) explain that via the Internet organizations provide detailed information on

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22 time, place and perhaps even a practical field guide for activists to inform people on how to organize, on their rights and how to protect themselves from harm" ( p. 1153). Activists who are respected in the community or who have previous experience share information w ith new activists to prevent them from getting hurt or arrested. This information might be shared through soc ial media before a protest take s place. Other example s of informatio n that is shared online to activists include s schedules of meetings, infor mation about protection of tear, and legal information ( Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010 ). Activists who have a lot of experience in protest will know phone numbers for obtaining legal representatives U sers utilize internet enhanced activism as a resource, wh ich is comprised of different levels of followers. Individuals have a different status in their Internet connectiveness First, Influentials are the targets of tweets because other users direct their tweets to them hoping that they will pass them on and help them reach a larger number of people ( Gonz‡lez Bail—n et al. 2013, p. 957) O ther users want an Infl uential to create awareness for a cause. Unfortunately, the media revolves around Influential individuals because they hold social power in society. However, celebrity support is a positive aspect when they use their influence to create necessary social change. Second, Broadcasters have network position that give them access to a large audience, and they primarily send out more messages than they receive ( Gonz‡lez Bail—n et al. 2013 ). Broadcasters can include individuals or an identity representative of a collec tive group. A Broadcaster for example, can be a single news reporter or it can also be the Facebook and Twitter page of a news station. Third, Hidden Influentials are crucial in mobilizing a protest because they are individuals or organizations that recei ve the majority of protest messages ( Gonz‡lez Bail—n et al. 2013 ). Hidden Influentials have followers, but not to the extent of the previous two

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23 users. Organizations who have Facebook and Twitter pages are Hidden Influentials if their purpose is to mobilize a movement in the name of a cause. The #BlackLivesMatter organization on Twitter and Facebook are Hidden Influentials because they are spreading awareness against police use of force. The group members of Hidden Influentials "play a significant ro le in organizing its members and establishing the informal networks" (Choi & Park, 2014, p. 132). Finally, Common User s send more messages and have a few followers. Common Users include activists that contribute "to the gross of the activity of the protest s without standing out ( Gonz‡lez Bail—n 2013, p. 958). Broadcasters, such as news outlets, most likely target common users because there is a massive amount of them. Common users are less likely to be "successful in starting long chain reactions, but the y have the power in numbers" ( Gonz‡lez Bail—n 2013, p. 959). Common users rarely begin a massive hashtag m ovement like #BlackLivesMatter, however Facebook and Twitter allow activists to express themselves ( Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010 ). A Common User tends to post or tweet information th at is relevant in their own life or their passions Consequences of Internet Enhanced Activism Advances in technology revolutionized the Internet and the creation of social media platforms. Even though there are positive aspects of how social media has altered activism and protest movements, there are unintended consequences. According to Earl et al. (2014), "Real activism must inevitably play out in the streets, and so online activism is, at best, a gateway to this more important form of activism, and, at worst, a d istraction" ( p. 375). In person protest are emotionally charged and the passion of the activists is what triggers change. Van Laer and Van Aelst (2010) u tilize the phrase Keyboard A ctivism to re present the online activism, which "may go at the expense of real actions" (p. 1162) The unintended

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24 consequence is that online activists fail to publicly portray the same interest and passion as activists who go out in public and verbally support their cause. Harlow and Guo (2014) explain that "w hile Facebook and online social media sites might mean greater involvement, it is less meaningful" (p. 472). By participating in different types of protest activities, even though the organiz ation occurs through social media the activist's participation might experience a rewarding experience that is more meaningful to themselves and the movement Another consequence of transitioning into social media organizing takes into consideration the diffe rence in opportunity of citizens. Van Laer and Van Aelst (2010) discuss a concept termed a Digital Divide, where citizens have "inequality in Internet access" ( p. 1160). Not every citizen is fortunate to have a Smar tphone with unlimited data. Low income neighborhoods where people live in poverty m ay lack food, shelter, or adequate education. Therefore, having a home computer or Internet access is unrealistic. Even though we live in a n age with incredible technological advances, citizens from margin alized communities might, "lack the skills to use the new media technology" ( Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010, p. 1160). In order for a social protest to fulfill the goals of the activist it is necessary for individuals to be competent in the roles Edwards and Kane (2014) mention that individuals will be a positive attribute to a movement if their skills and expertise are a goo d fit with the group Usually when people are hired for employment their experience and skills becomes an asset to an employer. The Internet and social media have reduced the costs of organizing dramatically, but "low costs of organizing entirely online drew in radically different kinds of organizers, including people wi th no experience with activism" (Earl et al., 2010, p. 432). Instead of contributing to the movement against police use of force, these inexperienced

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25 individuals become a burden. The new activists might want act with violence, as seen during the Freddie Gr ay Baltimore protests. The new activists that are recruited, often had different priorities and concerns than traditional social movement organizers" (Earl et al., 2010, p. 432). Th ese differing sides create a divide in the movement. Different activists w ill have different goals and priorities. When the movement is divided, "the internet is unable to create the necessary trust and strong ties that are necessary to build a sustainable network of activists" ( Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010, p. 1163). A ctivists must remain united and organized to help prevent people from getting harmed or arrested. When the I nternet facilitates protest organizing and recr uiting, it unfortunately causes activists to reduce their level of effort. Harlow and Guo (2014) describe th e influence of the Internet as a, type of pacification that might lead people to believe that they were making more of a difference than they really were" (p. 474). This situation is problematic because activists might believe that they are doing their part in contributing to the movement. I n reality, they are not doing much. Activists will not be motivated to get involved in more direct protests because, they can more easily pursue social and political change by clicking on a button and watching some ads" ( Van Laer & Van Aelst, 2010, p. 1162). Th e ease of use, however, is a positive attribute for adult activist who are trying to balance their employment, family, education, and activism. Activists whose m otivation to participate is minimal and decide to participate only because of the speed and convenience of the Internet are termed Five minute activist' (Earl et al., 2010 ) Lack of participation creates a problem with solidarity and it becomes difficult to create a collective identity with other devoted activists. Usually if an activist is un willing to get out of their comfort zone, then they most likely will not participate in the movement for a long time. This situation leads to a cost benefi t analysis

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26 of the use of social media in recruiting activis ts because of Flash activism. This form of activism involves a large number of individuals participating in protest actions for a short time (Earl et al., 2014 ). The Internet allows activists the opportunity to spread their message, but the individuals they recruit might not have the same commitment, interest, or passion in pursuing the goal of the protest movement. Social media has revolutionized the movement against police use of force. Activists have various resources at their disposal. The Internet is one of the most influential resources for activists. By understanding the organization of protests and the goals of the social movement, different practices can be implement ed to prevent future violent protests. Better execution of protests can prevent the escalation of violence, which endangers activists and law enforcement officials.

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27 CHAPTER III METHOD This study is an exploratory approach designed to examine activist ide ology, social media practices in organizing protest s and perceived community relations with law enforcement According to Creswell (2013), when conducting qualitative research, "the researcher builds a complex, holistic picture; analyzes words; reports detailed views of participants; and conducts the study in a natural setting" (p. 300). Qualitative studies prov ide an in depth analysis that might not yield the same results as a quantitative data collection process but contribute to a more holistic understanding of a phenomenon The majority of scholarly research related to activists or social movements is based on a quantitative methodology; therefore a qualitative study introduces the possibility of unique data by providing a rich narrative This design often yield s innovative results because qualitative research is best conducted, "when we want to empower indiv iduals to share their stories, hear their voices, and minimize the power relationships that often exist between the researcher and the participants" (Creswell, 2013, p. 48). Sharing perspectives and stories is of utmost importance to activists. A lso, qu ali tative methodolog y m ay provide some insight related to the escalation of protest s against policing Sampling Fi eldwork access to protest activities was based on following social media accounts of organizations and community groups known for their active roles in the movement against police use of force in Colorado cities. In this research, the movement refers to the collective efforts of various organizations and unaffiliated activists to address the issues surrounding police use of force The names of all organizations are not disclosed to protect the

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28 confidentiality of the participants that are affiliated with small organizations. Large national organizations represented in this study include: Black Lives Matter, Showing Up for Racial Jus tice, Anonymous, Occupy and Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztl‡n. In total, 18 organization s were followed. The primary investigator began by f ollow ing organizations newsfeed s on Twitter, and if possible, also l iking" the profile page on the group's Facebook account. The investigator proceed ed by pay ing special attention to any "Facebook Posts" or "Twitter Tweets" regarding public community events that the organizations woul d be hosting. These events were ideal sites for n on participant observation. In observational research "the researcher is an outsider of the group under study, watching and taking field notes from a distance" (Creswell, 2013, p. 293). By preventing interaction between the investigator and the study parti cipants, the investigator was able to observe the participants without altering their behavior in the protest activities After non participant observ ation of protest activities was complete the primary investigator contact ed activists through email. C o ntact information is easily found in the Facebook and Twitter profile of the activist community groups Community organizers willing to participate in the study responded with their cell phone numbers, email addresses or Facebook contact information A total of 20 activists agreed to partici pate in in depth interview s The interviewees were 55% Black, 20% Latino/a, 15% White non Latino/a and 10% Pacific Islander. Eleven people failed to respond to the email requests. All of the activists who responded accepted to participate. This form of contact information collection also led to a purposive snowball sample of interview participants. Purposive sampling occurs when "the inquirer selects individuals and sites for a study because they can purposefully

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29 in form and understanding of the research problem and central phenomenon in the study" (Creswell, 2013, p. 301). P urposive sampling offers several benefits. First, participants can be select ed in nearby cities for logistical and geographical convenience. Seco nd, observational research is facilitated when sudden or unexpected protest activities occur. A concern regarding purposive sampling is that it might lead to researcher or respondents bias b ased on targeting a specific sample of select participants therefore the results cannot be generalized beyond the groups and individuals studied here. Data C ollection Non participant o bservation. P rotest events vary in type, but all had the main goal of addressing police use of force. The events include vigils, d emonstrations in front of symbolic buildings, street marches, boycotts, petition signing, and riots. Approximately 20 to 50 activists typically participate d in the 10 observed events. The activists' age s appeared to range from 18 to 60. That non particip ant observation was occurring was not disclosed to the activist at the time of the protest activities The participants present at protest activities we re in p ublic spaces and therefore their expectation of privacy wa s minimized The potential for harm from being a study p articipant wa s highly unlikely. During the observation component o f the study an additional researcher was present. T wo people observing the protest events and recording notes reduce d the likelihood of error in memory recall. N otes we re taken on cell phone s during the events. The observation notes consist of descriptions of the location, activities, interactions, and composition of the groups (Creswell, 2013, p. 166). The events ranged from one to five hours

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30 Interview. A total of 20 semi structured in depth interviews with adult activists were conducted The interviews ranged from 30 to 60 minutes. An information sheet was provided to the participants to obtain verbal consent (see Appendix A ) P rior to conducting the interview, the participants received relevan t background study information, and they were reminded of their rights. The participants were assured that any information gathered would remain confidential and available only to the research team. Each participant select e d the location for the ir interview Interview locations included offices, campuses, and coffee shops. Five interviews were conducted by phone. Hand written notes were taken during the interview and then entered into a word document with additional observat ions. The interview questions were designed to explore activist ideology, social media practices in organizing protest s and perceived community relations with law enforcement (see Appendix B) The interview protocol consisted of open ended questions and allowed for further probes when necessary. After rapport was established through introductions and casual conversation, the participants were asked to reflect on the goals and means of the ir activities related to law enforcement Th e questio n reg arding the goals of protesting against police agencies at tempts to address the planning and organization of protest activities described by previous research as a transformation of internet enhanced activism (Earl et al., 2010) The questions regarding how activists' use social media and its influence in the movement explore internet enhanced and offline participation as a crucial element for facilitating activism (Earl et al., 2014; Earl et al., 2010). The protocol questions addr essing the positive and negative aspects of protest s are based on the observations of Ratliff and Hall (2014) who indicate the need for further conversations on the importance of organizing actions. The activists perceptions of the effectiveness of their protests and the reactions of

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31 law enforcement provide insight into perceive d police community relations particularly related to moral panic framework ( Goode & Ben Yehuda, 1994) The protocol also included a question on the parti cipants' definition and the components of social movement in order to more fully understand the transition from a protest activity to a social movement ( Gerlach & Hine, 1970) The final question regarding divisi veness among the protest groups further addresses the consequences of Internet enhanced activism (Earl et al., 2010) Overall, although existing literature guided the development of the interview protocol, the observational research, high visibility of media related events, and sociolog ical imagination describe d by C. Wright Mills (1959) were essential in creating the questions Ethical c onsiderations. All of the participants from the observations and interviews were treated ethically according to the standards of the University of Colorado Denver Institutional Review Board which granted approval for the methodology of this study In addition, the primary investigator and the faculty mentor completed the basic traini ng for conducting social and behavioral research from the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative. Any data gathered from the observations or interviews wa s utilized for the intended purpose of completing an exploratory study P articipant risk st emming from this study was minimal and highly unlikely. P articipants may have felt uncomfortable during the interview when possibly discussing negative information about fellow activists, the movement addressing police use of force, or the criminal justice system By informing participants that their participation in the study is voluntary discomfort was minimized. P articipants were informed that they ha d t he right to decline to answer questions, and the right to end the interview at any time

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32 Efforts to protect confidentiality included a verbal consent and the elimination of any identifiers of the participants A breach in confidentiality is unlikely, but may lead to negative repercussions. A ctivists however, are being asked to describe what t hey feel is appropriate to share In the rare instance of a breach, a n activist s reputation may be at risk if their viewpoint conflict s with other activists or criminal justice professionals All data are stored on encrypted servers. Analysis Data analysis p rocedures. Data analys e s was conducted by identifying major themes from the non participant observation field notes and the semi structured interviews. A manual thematic analysis was conducted by creating codes. Codes are symbolic sum maries (Salda–a, 2015, p. 11). The notes were coded by identifying patterns of repetitive words or short phrases. The patterns were then grouped into categories based on similarity by comparing and contrasting the data (Salda–a, 2015, p. 11). From the various categories created major themes were identified, that are "proverblike narrative memories" (Salda–a, 2015, p. 11). Themes include "several codes aggregated to form a common idea" (Creswell, 2013, p. 302). Methods for v erification In order to improve t he reliability of th e analysis a second person also manually code d the field and interview notes. The cod ed themes w ere compared until intercoder agreement was achieved. Creswell (2013) indicates that intercoder agreement occurs when, "multiple coders assign and check their code segments to establish the reliability of the data analysis process" (p. 298). Limitations. The accounts of these activists may not be reflective of all protesters and so cial movements, but the results give voice and deepen our understanding of the tension

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33 between the community and policing (Ragin, 1994; Sediman, 1998). The study is qualitative and therefore the investigator is highly immers ed in the activist environment although objectivity was a primary goal Also, p roblems in replication are common in qualitative data, to some extent Additionally, given the study is based on a non probability purposive convenience sample of activi sts generalizability is limited. I nconsistencies may be present if an interviewee was less than forthright with responses, although this type of situation did not appear to occur.

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34 CHAPTER IV RESULTS Data analysis of the 20 activist interviews and 10 non part ici pant observations reveal ed six major themes. First, the versatility of social activism allows activists with different backgrounds and skill levels to participate in movement s Second, the use of social media as a resource tool has facilitated the organization of protest activities Third, goal of activists to spread awareness in their communities further encourages people of color to mobilize Fourth, the unification and destruction of acts of resistance create a collectiv e activist identity, but also make activists a vulnerable target for voicing their perspectives. Fifth, divisiveness among activist groups impacts activists' progress towards the desired changes and influence the stigmatization of the movement. Finally, ac tivists seek to encourage the (de)construction of law enforcement and policing in order to help create changes they perceive are necessary in their communities T he following section further explores these six themes Versatility of Social A ctivism Each participant ha s their own definition of what social activism means to them and considers themselve an activist. A Latina community organizer, state d during an interview "activism cannot be measured The interviewees acknowledged that there are a variety of different ways that a person can participate in social activism. An activist scholar, f or example, describe d that social activism can be an individual or collective effort that seeks to change things for the better for a particular group of people or f or all people." A Latina college graduate identifie d examples of justice work, which include:

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35 marching, posting on Facebook, talking within your family about these types of issues, educating your friends, being involved in a student organization on your camp uses or in your high school, and checking your friend when they say something Th e majority of activists believe that social activism requires some kind of involvement The type of participation varies because for some, activism is being "involved i n events or organizations," and for others it can be e ngaging in uncomfortable conversations." In addition, people with more activism experience suggest that "getting involved online and making that a gateway to offline work is something that a new activist should embrace However, t here is no ex pectation that people doing justice work need to participate in traditional protests or demonstrations. For reasons such as safety, potential supporters can educate people by separating myths from facts," e ngaging in civic duties or volunteer ing in their c ommunity to show support for the cause according to many of the participants The va rious opportunities for justice work allow s people with different skills to take on the role in the movement tha t best suits them. A Latina political scientist describe d that there are "supporters, lea ders, and guiders in the movement. Some people can take on many roles. A b lack college student described the roles at the events he attended: [there are] people who help plan out how yo u're going to do activism, people wh o have good networking skills, p eople who have the knowledge, people who understand knowledge and who know how to present ." People use their skills to add something to the movement because they belie ve in the cause. Social Media Tools Activist s use social media as a tool for organizing and mobilizing the movement because according to the participants it "can cross class, culture and race boundaries A

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36 Latina community organizer describe d that increased access, the internet, a nd devices" help overcome obstacle s for organizing. Therefore, participants can focus on building relationships and can "have a moment to reconnect and to unify." Activists have mastered the use of social media to organize. A white graduate student expressed her appreciatio n for social media which connects her to other activist s A black middle age participant also appreciates that he can learn about and contact other organizations that he never knew existed be fore social media. In addition, social media is beneficial for people actively participating in protest activities because it is "quick, it's instant, and they can write immediately what they're thinking." Activist s describe d their power to "disseminate" t heir perspectives by having the opportunity to "share informati on like news articles, posts." A successful social media campaign "becomes viral which means that the information shared has reached a n immense audience where the attention to the issue is at the national or international level. Not only is social media allowing community members to connect, but it is also serving the same role that television did in the 60 s and that radio did in the 20s and 30 s as a form of communication. Many activists want to create a separate information outlet rather than depend on "mainstream corporate news sources and social media gives people the opportunity to share information. Spreading knowledge is empowering for people using social media because they create their own source of information. A Latina community organizer state d for example, w hat we do is we take pictures at our protests, at our actions, at our events and we ma ke films because we're taking back the media and making our own stories." Participants want to portray their own accounts of the events; often to further their cause. Consequently, a black

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37 radio host who was interviewed, coined the phrase "democratization of social media" to describe how activists can distribute their own news separate from mainstream media. The influence of social media on the movement addressing police use of force leads activists to believe that "for the very first time there is a real description, depiction of what police do on the media" because the information is being distributed independent free public sources Residents acquire knowledge about new cases regarding police use of force because everybody has phone, everybody has a camera on it and everybody has some sort of link to social media ." Technology and the advancements in social media facilitate the dispersion of information. Many participants believe social media indirectly addresses police use of force because, "every one feels like they are being watched, and therefore, it's influencing how people act." Therefore, police might alter their behavior because they never know when their actions are being filmed. A black attorney describe d that when "social media is coupled with technology, the n you can't hide the garbage." People are forced to see the problems that other communities are facing across the country with their local police departments. In addition, activists credit social media with shedding light on people w ho refuse to remove their blinders ." This comment is referencing people who are in denial that police officers are in capable of excessive use of force against poor people of color Therefore, a valuable contribution of social media according to a white activist is t o public outrage to then motivate people to act. M ost people for example, feel the need to do so mething when they see a problem therefore participation in the movement might be increased in times when a clip of an of ficer shooting a person of color goes viral.

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38 Facebook. Fa cebook is a crucial component for organizing protest activities. Out of the 20 study participants, 80% favors Facebook over other social med ia platforms. Activists describe d that Facebook is better for planning protest activities than other social media sites. Participants prefer this platform because "Facebook is where people are looking Almost all activist have a Facebook account even if they prefer a different social med ia platform. Facebook is "more known," and more specifically that's where the eyes are." Several participants state d their preference for Facebook was because they are just old fashion or "old school." Table 1 illustrates the different ways activists use Facebook according to the data analysis of the interviews. Table 1. Most Common Uses of Facebook by Activists Organize Offline Activities Online Activism Information Diffusion Build Relationships n n n n Get followers Encourage turnout Invitation to events Planning Event promotion 1 2 3 1 1 Share: specific cases activist posts campaigns activism music Post photos or videos Engage in dialogue Follow other media Sign petition Share to incite response 4 2 3 2 4 6 3 3 4 Share: links quotes articles research memes pictures posters stories Reading source News source Bookmark post 1 1 5 1 1 5 1 2 2 11 1 Contact preference Follow other users Connect with others 2 3 6 Note: (n) is the number of people who mentio ned the type of use Twitter. Another social media networking site prevalent among activist s is Twitter. Out of the 20 in terview participants, 20% preferred Twitt er over Facebook A useful feature of Twitter repeatedly mentioned during the interviews was the ability to retweet, which means that the user can forward the same post of another user on their own profile feed with the click of a button. T here are concerns however, with the st ructure of Twitter. A common

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39 response from activists was referencing Twitter's 140 character limit in posts. A research scholar s tated "I can't say it in that short amount of words However, a few activist s describe a positive view of the lim itation by describing that the character limit on Twitter allows for more discussion with less words." People can be concise on this social media platform. Twitter users for the most part network with users that follow them or people they are following Activists have an opportunity to "engage strangers." A positive aspect of Twitter is that users "learn outreach from other things that are going on, that are not on your circle." Therefore, participants can connect with other people involved in justice work that they may not know in person. A black male activist commented that he follows "close to 200 di fferent activists" on Twitter. Twitter provides a platform where u sers can learn from each other. Participants identify that they use T witter as a news source. A black college student state d w hether it's police brutality or news, I always get it on Twitter first ." A ctivists believe that Twitter is better for getting information ." People participating in protest activities have the ability to tweet in real time their observations, photos, or videos. T he tweeting feature allows Twitter to become more of a primary resource Disadvantages. Social media is a relatively new phenomeno n and its use by activists is revolutionary, but there are some inconsistencies that were noted by activists. Social media is a great resource tool for spreading awareness, but activists describe d that it has a saturation point. A Pacific Islander attorney experienced how Facebook can plateau and she believes that "you start to not follow certain people, or you start to un friend certain people and y ou start to befriend new people Also, a white photographer share d that not all posts are created equal." The users of social media are diverse and the quality of posts can vary. The

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40 participant indicated that there is a "gray area of posts about social justice that can actually negatively affect the problems." A posting that use s derogatory language and negat ive stereotypes about police officers might not lead to the desired change. In addition, when the public see s a post about an event concerning a police officer's choice to use fatal force, they can be "removed from the reality of it because of the computer experience ." Perception s of those who experience protest events vary. T herefore, a video of an incident that goes viral might not depict the situation accurately and the viewer might not have all of the information they need to form reasonable conclusion s S ocial media users might misinform activists because they might commit to attend a protest on Facebook events, but not actually attend. A Pacific Islander attorney expresse d her frustration when she said "we're thinking we got a whole army to march o ut, and it's only three of us." The number of protest attendees affects the attention a protest event receives and attendance is highly encouraged Community Awareness C ommunity awareness is a common goal shar ed by the majority of participants An activist expressed the importance of this goal by saying "we can't bring change if people aren't aware Participants want the public to learn about their cause and what they hope to accomplish. A black radio host commented that by engaging community members in conversations, they become educated, and therefore are "activated." In the movement addressing police use of force activists want people to know what's going on." Participants are referring to spreading awareness o f cases where police execute excessive use of force towards a person of color. The current movement is giving attention "to bad policing more so than in the past." Activist s want to educate their communities not only on what the current cases of alleged ex cessive use of force by police are, but also on

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41 their rights and duties. The new ly acquired awareness and knowledge can then empower communities of color to demand what they perceive to be just. T he majority of activists express ed that education and empowe rment can lead to the symbolic acknowledgement that people of color have a voice that matters and can create systemic change Unification and D estructiveness of Acts of Resistance The concept of activism requires people to become involved in different activities that lead to the desired change. During protest activities, visibility is increased," for the cause because communities can "recognize" the issues Activists notice the pat terns of what they perceive to be unjust police behavior particularly towards men of color. P rotest activities ca n "take people out of ignorance, and they give people the opportunity to share their rage During many protest activities, the activists wo uld sing the chorus of an Azaelia Banks song to let al l those who could hear know : We can't be silent W hile our friends are gunned down Participants are passionate about claiming their space and a physical presence in history. A Pacific Islander attorney believes that through protest activity she will accomplish a "manifestation of resistance" by amplifying her knowledge, history, and stories. Community members may not be aware of the hardships that people of color encounter, and "protests are fin ally opening peoples' eyes to say no things aren't great." Even when people disagree on controversial views expressed in protests, activists believe that there is always an opportunity to "learn and analyze" the perceived problem. There are a multitude of activities used to protest. Activities range from an artistic rap (see Appendix C) to traditional marches. Table 2 illustrates the various acts of resistance that were observed or that participants mentioned

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42 Table 2 Observed Acts of Resistance Note : Organized according to "Practicing the art of dissent: Toward a typology of protest activity in the United States," by T. N. Ratliff and L. L. Hall, 2014, Humanity & Society 38(3), p. 288 doi:10.1177/0160597614537796 Unification. Protest activities tend to unite the people that participate When activists unite for a common struggle, it gives a sense of solidarity, it's a sense of camarade rie it's a sense of we are una comunidad [a community] we are one people." People who part icipate feel united in the struggle The co lead er of a black organization stated that when tragic things, or frightening things happen in communities you have relationships established that allow you to trust who you're in the street with, or protesting with, or grieving with ." In Literal Symbolic, Aesthetic, and Sensory Movement in Space Solemnity and the Sacred social media use scholarly writing blogging writing books holding signs chanting singing symbolic clothing dancing rapping holding hands up speech spoken word reading poetry monetary donation m arches walkouts from institutions walking on street parades v igils rituals religious/ spiritual altars street memorials burning incense lighting candles or torches Civil Disobedience Institutional and Conventional Collective Violence and Threats public demonstrations blocking traffic interrupting city events hunger strike signing petitions new employment position meetings panel presentations voting acquiring higher education verbal altercations cursing use of slang/nicknames ! Literal Symbolic, Aesthetic, and Sensory Movement in Space Solemnity and the Sacred social media use scholarly writing blogging writing books holding signs chanting singing symbolic clothing dancing rapping holding hands up speech spoken word reading poetry monetary donation m arches walkouts from institutions walking on street parades v igils rituals religious/ spiritual altars street memorials burning incense lighting candles or torches Civil Disobedience Institutional and Conventional Collective Violence and Threats public demonstrations blocking traffic interrupting city events hunger strike signing petitions new employment position meetings panel presentations voting acquiring higher education verbal altercations cursing use of slang/nicknames

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43 addition participants interact with others who have the same views and opinions. A Pacific Islander attorney commented that the unification experience of protest ing is healing, it's validating, it's freaking empowering ." Participants value that they have similar perspective s on controversial issue s but they also have vastly different life experiences One activist for example, commented: We need a plethora of voices. W e need the young white male talking about his privile ge and how he's seeing how he's able to walk down the street witho ut being accosted by the police; wh ile at the same time witnessing a black male not able to have that same privilege. We need the voice of the young African American male that talks about being accosted by the police. We need the voice of the young African male's mother who talked about her fear every time she lets her son leave the hous e. In an environment where tensions are high, having more supporters can empower individuals to act. A b lack activist said "we have a louder voice when we are together The number of people in a g roup literally amplifies the volume of chants, but a pro test group also inspires individuals to speak up about what they perceive to be unjust. When a group of people u nite, it gives individuals that ab ility, that courage to speak up, especially when their goal is to "dismantle every single social norm." Not only are people uniting in the moment, but also across generations. A Latina community organizer describe d the different generations : I n these events we are seeing children, like straight up children 5 years old to 12 we are seeing young people 12 to 18 and then we are seeing adults, and then we're seeing elderly ." People from all ages are encouraged to participate in whatever way they can. The unification of activists creates connections with previous movements. The current movem ent addressing pol ice use of force is seen as a continuation of struggles faced d uring slavery and the civil rights movement. Participants reference slavery because according to a Latina college graduate the origins of policing stem back to when the police

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44 force was established to bring slaves back to their masters. A significant reference made by many activists is that police officers helped to enforce the Jim Crow laws ( Alexander, 2012) Many participants reference Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Black Panthe rs. People that participated i n the civil rights movement are also part of the current movement addressing police use of force. During n on participant observation at a community event with roughly 2 000 attendees the co lead er of an organization stated, t he [name of organization] family stands before you at the feet of this giant, this radical Dr. Martin Luther King. A black research scholar ma de the connection during an interview that the national Black Lives Matter organization is similar to the Black Panthers of the 1960s, where the negative actions of a few participants is painting the entire movement in a negative manner She provide d examples of good acts the Black Panthers were doing, such as feeding the community, making sure that there is equitable education for the kids." T he movement is trying to unite because "there is a history that FBI informants were sent into the Black Panthers." A Latina community organizer stated that "Martin Luther King Jr. was all about changing legislation peacefully." Activists are embracing historical figures and using them as examples of how to keep the current movement peaceful and united Destructiveness. Protests have the benefit of uniting community member s and encouraging active participation but they also have consequences for activists and communities P eople who are not a part of the community where the protest is taking place take advantage of the situation to act in ways that the movement finds offensive A black college student state d that most people that come to protest don't even know what they're protesting for, they just know that black people are doing this. I'm black so I'm going to do this ." A black research scholar provide d examples of how some people "express frustration

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45 in an intentional violent or conflicting manner." A black participant ma de a similar observation when he remarked that "e very once in awhile, you'll get that one or two hot headed individuals who want to l et off some steam. A ctivities that t h e collective movement d is approve s of include: "breaking into businesses and stealing stuff, busting the police cars and other cars, and lighting them on fire." A specific incident mentioned during the interviews descri be d how some individuals "poured red paint on a fallen police officers memorial." Outsiders associate these types of activities as being embraced by the movement which is not the case. A black college student explain ed t hat rioting will not solve the issues because your words aren't listened to A major problem regarding participation is that "there is a disconnect between some folks who just want to act right now instead of actually checking in with the family to see what they want." Th is reference is made to relatives who have lost a family memb er because of police use of lethal force. The activists interviewed in this research acknowledged that "people who are experiencing pain, this trauma at the front of it, get re traumatized over and over." Fam ilies keep seeing the memory of their lost loved one used as a justification for protest activities. Protest activities receive media attention because they disrupt status quo business as usual ." Mainstream media may distort incidents and generalize the problem to specific organizations and not the individuals unassociated with the movement. A Latina community organizer indicated that it is "super tactical of the media to paint that picture of these protest like people are just messing up their own communities," suggesting that these stories increase viewer ratings However, she further clarifie d that "even when there is well intended reporters or newscasts, they have a very short time to report such a complex issue, an d they underreport or they misconstrue the message."

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46 A ctivist s for the most part are unconcerned with hid ing their identities Since participants are advocates of controversial issues they are "labeled as radical, anti patriotic, anti USA, anti citize n, racist A black college graduate observed that outsiders label her and the people she associates with as a hate group, because she has been told "oh my gosh you hate white people, oh my gosh how can you stand up for something like that ." The stigma that comes from participating in events even affects how their acquaintances perceive them. A black attorney who is active in community events said : "I have had folks that have known me for 20 plus years call me a racist because I have spoken out against cops." Lo sing friendships is sometimes a consequence of protest participation. Divisiveness Among Activist Groups Considering the emphasis on being a collective group to combat what activists perceive to be unjust, the reality is that the m ovement is divisive Almost all o f the participants believe that differences between activists make the movement stronger. A black radio host indicated that there may be "unity without having uniformity." The movement addressing police use of force is comprised of di fferent organizations and unaffiliated individuals. The participants are diverse in race/ethnicity, gender, sexuality, work experience, socio economic status, and even the level of interaction with law enforcement. When people bring their perspectives into the movement, it gives the collective effort authenticity. The participants pointed out that efforts are being made to create solidarity. However, there were clear differences of opinion when considering areas of potential divisiveness. Online a ctivist s The participants of the movement use social media as a tool, however the perspectives regarding the balance between online participation and in person activism vary. A black attorney believes there is value in people who are more the online

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47 war riors." Other terms participants mention ed to describe an activist that participates online include d : ghost liker Internet activist Facebook activist media warriors and armchair activists The main concern with people who participate online is that some people use social media to "misrepresent their capacity." This statement refer s to people who have the ability and the means to have a presence in the movement ou tside of their online partici pation by "getting off your ass according to one respondent. A black attorney further mention ed that "it rings hollow if all you do is share an article and you don't have any sort o f critical thought behind it." A Latina participant expresse d frustration with online activists who are "people that complain and bitch, and share stuff of memes or pictures that have provided no information or provided no solution ." The director of one organization provide d examples of actions t hat meaningless; y ou are just on Facebook. You are clicking likes all day everyday. You don't even read the articles. You don't e ven copy and paste the quote." A young recent college graduate who is beginning his activist journey, suggest ed "in addition to talking about it on Faceboo k, take it a step further actively doing somethi ng." A black radio host caution ed that people involved online should try to "put some boots on the ground" in order to "be in touch with the movement." Similarly, a computer paralegal expresse d this perspecti ve in her comment: I was that person who only sat behind my phone or only sat behind my computer I didn't get research. I d idn't get up. I didn't move. I didn't go to a library at least to try. I didn't turn on the news to see what's going o n. I just saw w hat was trending. T here are circumstances where the majority of activists believe that a primary online presence is appropriate. Most p articipants repeatedly identif ied DeRay Mckesson as a nationally well known social media activist Some participants criticize d Mckesson for having primarily an online presence and becoming a celebrity but they believe the

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48 recogn ition and followers that he acquires is a valuable contribution for spreading awareness. Online participants were labeled as "hypocrites or laz y." A Pacific Islander attorney however, believes that "it's a privilege" for people to be an in person activists because of monetary reasons, such as having the "means to be able to not go to work ." Ac tivists are not expecting supporters to make unrealistic sacrifices that can lead to an extreme burden on their personal lives. A Latina community organizer s tated that she is unwilling to vilify people who are either anti social, or can't get out of their house, or maybe have warrants that th ey can't be at protests, they can't be at actions, they c an't have police interaction." The interviewees noted one method of participating on social media that most activists respect. An organization director indicated that "if you're going to be a social media social justice activist, then you need to be engaging people in conversations, you need to be posting your thoughts and your commentary." A nother participant share d this perspective in the following response. Whether it's folks with certain types of disabilities, folks with small children at home, folks in rural areas without ability to show up in a big city thing, there's a place for all of us in the movement and on line has allowed that place for everyone. The Role of the White Activist. The movement addressing police use of force receives support from individuals with different backgrounds, including white activists. The role that the white participant should play in the movement remains uncertain. P eople of color explained that a trust issue exists among minorities and whites, which stems from the former being a marginalized social group, but their unified goal is to work together in order to "peal off the layers of colonization in white supremacy." The large majority of the interview pa rticipants share the opinion that the participation of white people is necessary for progress in racial justice issues. A black co lead er of an organization commented that

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49 people of color with regard to this movement, are very welcome to having and say it's necessary to have white folk as part of the movement ." A Latina community organizer remarked that "white people who get it, should go teach their white brother s and sisters how to get it too by embracing people of color. The data reveal an underlying assumption or perception that people listen to people of their own racial or ethnic background. In other words, white people are more open to listen ing to what white activists have to say about the subject matter. Additionally, white activists are seen as "allies and accomplices" of the movement, but there is an expectation that w hite people also need to be on the front lines during protest activities. S ome people participating in the movement believe that white people should not take the attention and t he power of the movement away from people of color. A black attorney stated that white people "can sit there and listen and learn what the issues are and become better allies." Overall, the interviewees responses suggest that i f white people take on a passive role, then people of color can take the lead. W hite activists often are insecure of their participation in the movement. W hite activist s often receive mixed messages Several participants have he a rd people of color say that "white people should not control the movement or "white people need to be more directive and leading." A white participant explain ed that their role should be "uplifting the voices of people of color," instead of directing the movement. S ev eral activist s of color mentioned that white people need to address their racist biases and unlearn the beliefs that grant them their privilege, in order to create a future generation of children who have the necessary exposure to embrace people of color

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50 Competition. A few a ctivists are receiving a great deal of attention from their communities, elected government officials, law enforcement, and various media sources. There is competition for attention and recognitio n between activists themselves. A ccordin g to another participant, the movement generalizes struggles of all people of color: In an era where there are so many people being persecuted it becomes easy for groups who are doing the work to feel slighted if their particular struggle or their particul ar na me isn't mentioned every time at the top of the list and it forms competitiveness A Latina political scientist explain ed that the movement is a popular people crowd ," because "t here is a high school mentality that who is who in civic engagement is what makes you or breaks you ." The actions of participants can be less influential if the activists are seek ing acknowledgement for their actions and want their "brownie points for the day." A black participant st ate d that, "some people are ego tripping be cause they are getting a good amount of attention from the press and not using that power for good." The good refers to the progression to fulfilling the goals of the movement. Some activists describe the "in fighting," as leading to activist frustration A black participant add ed that if activists are criticizing each other then "they're just as bad as the police." There is no expectation that all activists need to agree and be "holding hands," but definitely there is a belief among them that they should avoid "tearing each other down." A black attorney illustrated his perspective by providing the following National Football League reference: N ot everyone on the Patriots likes Tom Brady but Tom Brady will win you a championship I n activism you're going to have people that don't like black Tom Brady, but if black Tom Brady can help us win t he freedom super bowl, go forth Age v ersus e xperience. The movement addressing police use of force is recruiting young activists on social media and adults with a reputable history of activism experience. The people that participate in the protest activities range in ages. Activism is an

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51 intergenerational cycle," because elders that participated in the civil rights movement are now involved in the current movement Some of the issues surrounding police during the civil rights movement are still relevant. The data show a certain degree of hostility between activists particularly between elders and young adult s Older act ivists, also called "old guards by some parti cipants believe activism "should look, feel, and sound a certain way." Elders are not mastering new organizi ng tools, such as social media, but they are showing up at protest activities. Senior activists base their activism on their life experience. Accor ding to a Latina community organizer they justify their activism by saying "we witnessed this, we've seen this, we've experienced this, we thought it was over, and it's here again and now it's affecting our grandchildren." Overall, p articipants believe that there is value in remembering the civil rights movement because there are still related circumstances that need change. A divisive relationship exists between young adults and elders because elders participated in the civil rights movement an d they believe that there is a right way to execute a protest Older adults believe there are better approaches than those used by younger generations A respondent mention ed during the interviews that sexism and transphobia further create a divisive situa tion between older and younger participants. Tactics. A controversial topic between activists is the use of tactics that different organizations use to draw attention to the movement. The tactics are as diverse as the organizations taking on the issues addressing police use of force or equality and justice for minorities Some organizations believe their tactics are the most effective and "the best." Depending on the group organizing acts of resistance, the participants might be more vocal while others are more "secretive." P rotest partici pants are pointing fingers at each other,"

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52 e specially if the outcome of protest activity tactics is undesirable. A participant describe d why white participants use aggressive tactics in the following comment: White or ganizations because of either being unaware of their privilege, or because the protection of everybody there is not their number one concern, they just go hard. You know they go hard at the police, and that's when you see police in riot gear. Some white activists plan to incite reactive police responses during their demonstrations During non participant observation s many of the white participants used masks, bandanas, or scarves to cover their faces. According to some respondents white people will start shouting instead of findi ng ways to solve these problems." Several participants reference d anarchists as being "completely anti state and F those Pigs." A Latina community organizer acknowledge d that white anarchists "throw that rhetoric hard." If you are a white woman, do what you got to do and go yell at those police officers si quieres [if you want], because that's your privilege and that's your power, but that's not the reality for people of color. A black college student believes when people yell, fuck the cops it hurts the cause. A white participant stated "that intensity could sometimes put people off," and actually result in a negative consequence for the movement. Ac c ording to the majority of activists, "solving vio lence with violence is wrong Even though most events organized by people of color encourage peaceful protest, a tactic that one particular organization of color encourages is the use of community patrols. Armed c ommunity patrols as described by the bl ack fou nder of an organization, can give people the power to actively participate in their neighborhood by patrolling the police and themselves. This particular organization encourages citizens to p rotect their neighborhoods and be knowledgeable on the use of arms for their own protection. The fou nder made the following comment:

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53 I want to encourage commu nity patrols, not only against racist cops but anything that harms the community. D efinitely by having two and three man patrols with a base set up we can monitor the police movements and follow them around to make sure they're not doing anything that's going to infringe on anybody's rights. In contrast, most protest activities that people of color organize use different non aggressive and non threatenin g tactics. A Lat ina community organizer sa id that her organization does not "try to do things that put people in danger that we are inviting to be in a protest." Similarly a white participant noted that "there is less intense social activism, which is still engaging people but less aggressive, and more inviting to conversation ." Most activist noted that participants' actions need to be cautious and respectful. A Pacific Islander attorney commented that social activism should be about "not harming anybody." Ideologies. Participants from different organizations have a divisive relati onship because their ideology and reasoning for participating in protest activities varies. Some organizations consider themselves radical and some of them consider themselves reformist." The movement addressing police use of force consists of "different groups with different goals and different focus points E ach organization involved in the movement has a diffe rent agenda that they work towards. A black college graduate said we each follow our different, our crew when referring to the all the various organizations that comprise the movement. According to one participant, during a parade people were walking w ith their own "clique," instead of w alking as a collective entity. Observational data support the segregation of participants. Differences in opinion can lead to conflict between activists. Organizations tend to be more amiable when the common goal is recognized by all groups. A nimosity develops when a particular gro up creates a hierarchy of oppression," whe n members decide, who has it worse, whose issues don't matter at the moment." In addition, respondents explain ed that

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54 there have been instances wh ere people are not coming out for each other ." During non participant observation, few black activists attend ed protest activities organized by Latinos or whites. Divisiven ess among activists is influencing the lack of effort being made to create coalitions among organizations. Even though the majority of participants advocate for unity, t here is little effort being made to influence "community beef on making a lot of partnerships between organizations." A b lack executive director of a youth serving organization describe d that groups focused on youth civic engagement are building coalitions. Activists appreciate the differences between them, because it is necessary that each of these organizations exist for their own purpose ." A white activist stated that "if they all communicate and unite with one goal in mind maybe it can get done faster." The differences in ideology deter a speedy progression towards accomplishing their goals (De)construction of Law E nf orcement and Policing A major goal behind the movement addressing police use of force is to change the structure of law enforcement. In order to change the current system, policies and practices need to be deconstructed. Some suggest that officers need to unlearn and participate in training that is more considerate of the needs of communities of color. Activists vary in opinion regarding what a restruc tured criminal justice system would look like and if it is even possible for change in policing A Latina community organizer commented that the ultimate expectation s vary: F or some it's reform, for some it's complete abolition of prison state A black radio host explain ed that t he goal is not to reform, but to replace the current policing practices with a more community centered model that reflects the principles, reflects the morals, reflects the ideas, and reflects the vision of the communities themselves. Protest

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5 5 participants understand that they need to advocate for a system that is realistic. A black attorney explain ed that activists want something different and if not that, far better police." From the activists' perspective, p olicing looks different depending on the targeted community. Therefore, participants have different opinions on what policing should look like in their own communities A white activist believes that it is necessary to build a society where you trust the police force, and you believe that they're actua lly there to protect you." Some believe that communities should be actively policing themselves in addition to the policing done by law enforcement. Activists are demanding change, but even they are un sure how to improve police community relations. Individual v ersus i nstitution T he movement addressing police use of force stems from the community's outrage over incidents in which police officer s have fatally shoot people of color. S everal activists noted what they perceive to be racist and oppressiv e policies stem from a systemic problem at the institutional level A Pacific Islander attorney explain ed that "racism is institutional," and therefore the criminal justice system functions to uplift whiteness, by creating a "deliberate barrier" of oppression for people of color. At a protest activity a participant made the claim that these case s have "no trial, no judge, no jury, just the gang in blue who is making these life altering decisions for the justice system with their blindfolds torn off Some activists feel that the problem is that individual police officers are taking the law into their own hands by dec iding to fatally shoot a person During one observation, a pastor told attendees "we cann ot allow our police force to be come judge, jury and executioner." The majority of activists understand the need for a criminal justice system, but blame the problems on individual officers. A black participant expresse d that he is not

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56 against the police organization but that he is definitely against racist cops and everything that they do as far as being racially motivated to bring people of color harm. Activists for the most part believe that there is a small portion of police officers that will make it look bad for all of them." Participants rarely self ide ntify as anti polic e and for the most part value the work of officer s that resulted in positive interaction s A pastor add ed that communities have to deal with the powers that continuously put those same officers back on the street, back in our homes, back in our offices Accountability. A goal that is regularly mentioned among most activists is to hold police departments or police officers accountable for their actions or inaction According to a Pacific Islander activist, communities need to "re imagine" what accountability looks like. Community members who have lost someone to police use of fatal force believe that in several cases officers had other options. S everal participants m entioned during the interviews that a specific district attorney never prosecute s police officers in their city A ctivists in Colorado are extremely frustrated because most cases regarding questionable police behavior fail to result in criminal charges. Co mmunity members believe that there should be conse quences for officer behavior." A white activist s tated that by establishing a system of accountability for people's actions ," then law enforcement's actions are more likely to be observed and noted ." Participants demand that someone should be policing the police. Activists believe that they are not making unrealistic requests because they are trying to keep these institutions accountable to the law t hat they say that they're serving." Militarization p ractices. Activists have strong opinions regarding the militarization of police based on media portray als of the protests in Ferguson Missouri and what they have witnessed in their own communities. The protest that took place in Fergusson after the death

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57 of Michael Brown show ed how Special Weapons and Tactic (SWAT) teams may instigate further violence. According to a Latina college graduate, police officers are present at demonstrations, and they show up with SWAT teams, tear gas, heavy machinery, and lots of weapons ." Activists agreed that the protests in Ferguson would not have escalated to the extent that it did if the police showed less of a "armed forces" approach. A black research scholar indicated that law enforcement needs to move away from pol icing and authority, authorization, militarization ." Activists are open to move towards peace officers or go back more to community policing ." A concern for some participants is that a large majority of police officers are veterans. Interviewees noted that police officers are using "war type weapons, techniques, and materials like the tear gas." According to a black activist policing tec hniques on communities of color "is not even something during current wars that countries want to use on the so called enemy." Perception of policing in communities of c olor The participants of the movement addressing police use of force perceive a system that enables police violenc e. Based on what activists experience in their communities and the social media exposure they encounter, they form preconceived notions of their local police departments A participant comment ed : I've seen people respond by saying, "These officers are there to protect you. They're there to make sure cars don't hit you, and you're yelling at them and your criticizing them." Then we've seen instances of completely peaceful protest met with riot gear, pepper spray, flat out abuse, and assault in which peo ple say, "Oh, that is a completely unjust use of force and power. These are people who have a right to hold a sign or deliver a message." A Latina political scientist noted that the actions and the over reactions by law enforcement ," influence police community relations. Even though activists agree d that not all cops are trying to enforce bad violence and police brutality ," they believe the department s should still be held liable for the actions of its officers. A protest participant

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58 expresse d her mistrust in the police department : activists don't know if they are understanding and comprehendin g the message and demands ." Community members w a n t their local police departments to hear the changes they believe are necessary despite the d ata that shows little agreement in the area As a Latina activist explain ed "t hey are not listening until there's enough people who are calling and protesting ." Community members understand that protesting gives them the attention they believe should be g iven to specific issues. Activists believe that police know their identities and the level of their involvement in the movement addressing police use of force. A Latino computer engineer mentioned that they are concerned about government surveillance of active participants. Activi sts have an understanding that there is "danger in organizing against the police or for more safety from the police." A Pacific Islander paralegal described the fear she felt at a march when she saw a "douche bag looking cop." She noted: "I felt like my l ife was on the line." People engage in undesirable and potentially hostile situations to support their causes, but they have an internal struggle that includes the "conflict of being a community activist person and fear from police retaliation." Activists expressed that they need "to be careful organizing because nunca sabes [you never know] if all of a sudden you have a bad tail light." This comment suggests that a known activist perceives that he or she may be profiled by police officers. Even though part icipating in protest can make activists have feelings of insecurity, they "re frame" the negativity as an empowering motivator Resistance. Activist s believe that police are resistant to change, and therefore intentionally resist any collaboration with active community members. Activists perceive that p olice personnel have too much control of power, or too much access to power ." Police

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59 officers have the discretion to hold conversations with the community, but activist find that "they tend to close thei r ears and they put up a wall." A ddition ally one participant describe d that police see her like a pebble under their shoe." Police officers might justify their actions by blaming the suspect or deceased individual. A black activist for examples, sa id that a police officer told him "if they just complied, if they just listened to me and the law," then the end result would not have happened. Even though participants find police officers very defensive ," they believe that officer annoyance leads to a f eeling of obligation ." If activists are constantly demonstrating and creating a disruption, then the police department might be inclined to address the hostility with the community. A Pacific Islander attorney explain ed that police officers hold a misconce ption of activism, and therefore, police officers might view protesters as "a thorn on my side." Participants believe there are some police officers, who want to hear everything that we have to say, but then there's that other part who just listens but do esn't want to take action ." The majority of activists agree that in order for change to occur police officers need to make an effort to connect with the communities they serve The lack of change in polices and practice can lead to an interpretation that law enforcement agencies are resisting change because they failed to validat e how community members are feeling Changes in p ractice Most activists believe that police community relations can improve if changes in policing practices are implemented. A wh ite participant commented that because police officers are meant to be protectors ," then they sho uld be open to new suggestions. Several participants mention ed that police "lump all of them together" and label them as one group instead of identifying them as separate entities with a common goal. Activists want to educate police departments on their needs and they want the police force to understand their

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60 demands. According to a research scholar, because police departments "are h aving to respond to community members," this encourages some departments to make efforts to change at the organizational or individual level. Significant efforts have been made in some cities to improve police community relations. Examples of positive chan ges in practice include: "doing as much interface with community and having formal meetings or informal meetings, town halls." Basically, by starting a conversation between officers and the community members they serv e, situations can be de escalated. Acti vists want police officers to "integrate" themselves with similar kids to the ones "they're shooting" by meeting the siblings of those who they fatally shot to "break bread." Activists explain ed that while some police officers are volunteering their time t o talk to them, other departments, "are at least trying to set up places and forums where they can they can listen to what the community wants to say." A black attorney sa id he has a friend who is a police officer, and who told him "I agree I need to do m ore as an officer." Even though progress is being made in improving police community relations, there's not enough police officers that stand up for the fact of that police brutality is wron g ." In order to fully restore the communities trust in law enforcement, police departments need to change the subculture of the department to identify cases of officer misconduct

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61 CHAPTER V DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION Previous research studies on social movements are limited on their analysis of how activist use social media to mobilize. The current movement addressing police use of force is often misunderstood, and hearing the voices of advocates add depth to our understanding. The key to de escalating hostile situations between police and community members invol ves understanding those that are affected by the incident. People of color who live in poor neighborhoods will have a different outlook of police than a white person According to the research participants even a white person living in a poverty stricken neighborhood will justify policing practices because their white privilege prohibits them from comprehending the impact those decisions have on people of color The results o f the current study enhance not only the public s knowledge of who are the protesters but the results also are significant to academia concerning the us e of social media and its influence on the criminal justice system. The media attention the current movement is receiving is influencing police community relations in both positi ve and negative ways Many citizens have lost their trust in law enforcement, but activist s believe that the police force is capable of having a cultural organizational change. The results from the study suggest that because of social media, activis ts are able to build a movement and make their demand s known more than ever before. Activist s may not all think alike, but they are willing to work to address the same issue concerning policing in communities of color The use of social media by activist s is capable of magnifying the problems that have emerged since the Rodney King case with the Los Angeles Police Department in the 19 90s The results also indicate that the creation of a collective consciousness surrounding the useful qualities of social me dia will connect and

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62 empower once marginalized groups. The visual recordings of cases of alleged police brutality can now be disseminated through social media platforms, which give the public the power to form their own conclusions and voice their opinion s Activis ts value social media and utilize platforms, such as Facebook, to network, organize, spread awareness, and influence change. Not all social media platforms are structured the same, but clearly Facebook and Twitter are a revolutionary resource for people interested in justice work. Facebook was introduced in 2004 before Twitter 's launch date in 2006 Even though social media is a new phenomenon, it is ironic that F acebook users feel they are old fashion ed compared to other newer platforms Social media evolves the role of what it means to be an activist and facilitate s t he distribution of information. H owever some people still be lieve activist work should consist primarily of in perso n interactions and relationship Being able to have conversations and sway minds is feature of justice work that is diminishing because of the structure of posts, such a s a 140 character Twitter tweet. The potential for harm is greater when people physically protest in their communities compared to non existent violence for social media activists. Therefore, more traditional activists have an internal struggle in deciding if they should re cognize the credibility of online activists. The data reveal that not all activists participating in the same movement have the same perspectives. Therefore, police departments should respond to protest events differently depending on the organization or individual that is organizing the protest activity. Not only is it intimidating to see officers arrive in riot gear, but as the data suggests, most protest organized by people of color are peaceful in nature (Kappeler & Kraska, 2013) This observation is in contrast to the images of black and brown "thugs" that viewer s have seen on mainstream media sources. The intended audience of activists is the general public that uses

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63 social media. The potential impact of a post or tweet can impact police community re lations in any city In contrast to the media portrayal of who is participating in protest activities, the movement addressing police use of force does not focus solely on racial tensions. There are historical and current references where race seems to b e the reason a white officer might choose to terrorize a poor person of color. Activist s are affected by the historical oppression of people of color and they carry th at trauma C onversation s regarding the racial tension between communities are taking place across the country, and discuss ion s regarding the concepts of white privilege and subconscious biases are justifying the need for community members to participate in justice work F or the most part, activist s in the current movem ent are fo cusing more on the demilitarization of the police force, the availability of institutions who can hold officers accountable, and the continuous struggle to restructure the criminal justice system. Through social media, activists are able to express their d e mands, because according to activists mainstream media fails have their best interest in mind when reporting. The violent representations of looting and rioting increase ratings, while the peaceful neighborhood meetings fail to garner the same attention. Policy Implications More research based on the analysis of the introduction of social media into protest movements is necessary in order to better understand the current social climate. I t is necessary to improve the community relations between law enforcement and police officers. A perspective that looks promising is structured community policing, but it still lacks organization. The implementation of community policing needs to be addres sed and planned By restructuring law enforcement practices, officer s might be encouraged through training to

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64 use more de escalation techniques other than relying on weapons or tools at their disposal Law enforcement agencies are making efforts to promote transparency with the communities they serve by encouraging pilot programs to test police body camer as. In addition, c hangi ng potential militarization strategies of policing is a start, but it is also necessary to remember to identify possible ways to pro mote a cultural organizational change within departments. Policing can take a toll on police officers, administrators and community members. By addressing potential stressors, a more productive form of community policing might emerge. Early intervention can improve the animosity that exists between communities and their local police departments because it might prevent ra cial tension When children have positive interactions with police departments, then they might have a more positive perspective on thei r local police department. A concern of activists is that their local police departments do not have similar racial and ethnic demographics as the community they serve. If children of color are socialized to think highly of police, then more adults of colo r might apply to the police academy. Early socialization might reconstruct how communities interact with police during potentially hostile situations, such as protest. Instead of inciting more violence, situations can potentially be de escalated. The creation of a safe setting where the community can control the direction of the meetings with police representatives is a necessary adjustment that can be implemented. Currently, activists seem to force their way into community meetings. In order to improv e the relationship with police, police departments might give the community some power in directing the conversation. Most activist mentioned that they want to start a conversation in a place where they feel they can be heard. In the same setting, police a gencies can educate community members on what the police department can do for them. Police representatives

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65 can also clarify what are the roles of a police officer. During the meetings, officers can provide some clarification on what exactly are the duties of a police officer and what they can do for communities of color Some community members do not have an understanding of the criminal justice system, and they make the argument that an officer's duty is to protect and serve the community, but they fail to do so when they enforc e the laws If a community is educated on what a police officer can do for them, then this might help in de escalating hostile situations. A ctivists are currently utilizing the Internet to share video and their experiences of protest events which increases their presence Activist's use of technology in order to record and post on social media is a controvers ial topic A legal argument in favor of recording police is that citizens are protected by the Constitution. The Department of Justice's ( 2015 ) report on the Investigation of the Ferguson Police Depart ment concluded that some constitutional amendments were violated during the 2014 Ferguson protests because of questionable police decision making in preventing citi zens from recording police activities in public settings In some cases, h owever, individuals are abusing their right at times by posting the videos or photos out of context. M ore specific legislation or departmental policies should address the rights of activists The District of Colombia Metropolitan Police Department has a written policy called, Video recording, Photographing, and Audio Recording of Metropolitan Police Department Members by the Public ( District of Colombia 2012 ) The policy lists prope r departm ental protocol, and it also provides clear steps and definitions to avoid misinterpretation. These p olicies can serve as guides for other departments.

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66 Conclusion The present study provide d qualitative accounts on a n emerging movement that attempts to improve community and police relat ionships. The results add ed substantially new perspectives to the literature on social movements The knowledge gained from conducting this research benefit s community members, scholars and police departments. Local po lice departments are in need of information that can better guide their interactions with activists. Aggressive confrontations are fueling the negative perceptions of activism and it is a result of media portrayal This res earch illustrates how both activist and law enforcement can better understanding police communit y relations, but also guides a more considerate implementatio n of policing in communities of color Activists will continue to claim their space and voice their opinion, but policing strategies can help officers adapt and de escalate hostile situations. A proclamation written by Assata Shakur a b lack civil rights activist is used at many Colorado protest activities and a chorus can be heard every time activist s recite : It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.

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67 REFERENCES About Dr. King. (2014). The King Center Retrieved from http://www.thekingcenter.org/about dr king Alexander, M. (2012 ). The new Jim Crow: Mass incarceration in the age of colorblindness. New York, NY:New Press. Brekke, K. (2015, January 27). A clear timeline of the Tamir Rice shooting. The Huffington Post R etrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/27/timeline of tamir rice case_n_6556842.html Brown, E. (2015, August 10). Timeline: Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Mo. USA TODAY Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/08/14 / michael brown ferguson missouri timeline/14051827/ Bryan, J., Haldipur, J., Martin, M., & Ullrich, S. (2015). Envisioning a broader role for philanthropy in prison reform. Society 52 (6), 572. doi:10.1007/s12115 015 9951 x Choi, S., & Park, H. W. (2014). An exploratory approach to a twitter based community centered on a political goal in south K orea: Who organized it, what they shared, and how they acted. New Media & Society 16(1), 129 148. doi: 10.1177/1461444813487956 Cohen, S. (20 02) Folk devils and moral panics: The creation of the mods and r ockers (3rd ed.). London: Routledge. Creswell, J. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks :S age Publications. Dahl, J. (2013, July 12). Trayvon Martin shooting: A timeline of events. CBS News Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/news/trayvon martin shooting a timeline of events/ David, M., Rohloff, A., Petley, J., & Hughes, J. (2011). The idea of moral panic Ten dimensions of dispute. Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal 7(3), 215 228. doi:10.1177/1741659011417601 DeHahn, P. (2014, December 12). A complete guide to anti police violence hashtag activism Retrieved from http://www.dailydot.com/politics/ferguson michael brown eric garner black lives matter hashtag activism/ Diani, M. (1992). The concept of social movement. Sociological Review 40(1), 1 25. doi:10.1111/j.1467 954X.1992.tb02943.x

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68 District of Colombia, Metropolitan Police. (2012). Video recording, Photographing, and Audio Recording of Metropolitan Police Department Members by the Public Retrieved from http://aclu nca.org/sites/default/files/docs/DC%20MPD%20GO% 20304 19.pdf. Earl, J., Hunt, J., & Garrett, K. (2014). Social movements and the ICT revolution. In Van Der Heijden, H. (Ed.), Handbook of Political Citizenship and Social Movements (pp. 359 383). Cheltenham United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited Earl, J., Kimport, K., Prieto, G., Rush, C., & Reynoso, K. (2010). Changing the world one webpage at a time: Conceptualizing and explaining Internet activism. Mobilization: An International Quarterly 15(4), 425 446. Edwards, B., & Kane, M. (2014). Resource mobilization and social and political movements. In Van Der Heijden, H. (Ed.), Handbook of Political Citizenship and Social Movements (pp. 205 232). Cheltenham United Kingdom: Edward Elgar Publishing Limited Fagan, J., West, V., & Holland, J. ( 2003). Reciprocal effects of crime and incarceration in new york city neighborhoods. Fordham Urban Law Journal, 30 (5), 1551. Fuist, T. N. (2013). Culture within sites, culture as resources, and culture as wider contexts: A typology of how culture works in social movement theory. Sociology Compass 7(12), 1044 1052. doi:10.1111/soc4.12087 Gerlach, L. P., & Hine, V. H. (1970). People, Power, Change: Movements of Social Transformation Indianapolis, Indiana:The Bobbs Merrill Co. Gonz‡lez Bail—n, S., Borge Holthoefer, J., & Moreno, Y. (2013). Broadcasters and hidden influentials in online protest diffusion. American Behavioral Scientist 57(7), 943 965. doi: 10.1177/0002764213479371 Goode, E., & Ben Yehuda, N. (1994). Moral panics : Culture, politics, and social construction. Annual Review of Sociology 20(1), 149 171. doi:10.1146/annurev.so.20.080194.001053 Guffey, E. (2012). Knowing their space: Signs of Jim Crow in the segregated south. Design Issues 28 (2), 41 60. Gurman, S. ( 2015, February 27). Jessica Hernandez, teen killed by Denver police, had 4 gunshot wounds: Autopsy. The Huffington Post Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com /2015/02/27/jessica hernandez autopsy_n_6773040.html

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69 Harlow, S., & Guo, L. (2014). Will the revolution be tweeted or facebooked? using digital communication tools in immigrant activism. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication 19(3), 463 478. doi:10.1111/jcc4.12062 Jenkins, P. (2009). Failure to launch: Why do some s ocial issues fail to detonate moral panics? British Journal of Criminology 49(1), 35 47. doi:10.1093/bjc/azn016 Kappeler, V.E. and Kraska, P.B. (2013). Normalising police militarisation, living in denial. Policing and Society: An International Journal of Research and Policy 1 8. DOI: 10.1080/10439463.2013.864655 Katz, W. (2015). Enhancing accountability and trust with independent investigations of police lethal force. Harvard Law Review 128 (6), 235 245. Khan, M. (2016, April 12). Anniversary of Freddie Gray's arrest: What's happened since. Retrieved from http://abcnews.go.com/US/anniversary freddie grays arrest happened/story?id=38334003 King, J. (2015, December 29). One hashtag sums up our heartbreak for Tamir Rice's family. Retrieved from http ://mic.com/articles/131395/one hashtag sums up our heartbreak for tamir rice s family#.Tuh3vDox2 Kraska, P.B. and Cubellis, L.J., ( 1997 ) Mil itarizing Mayberry and beyond: M aking sense of American paramilitary policing. Justice Q uarterly 14(4), 607 629. Martinez, M. (2015, April 9). South Carolina cop shoots unarmed man: A timeline. CNN Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/08/us/south carolna cop shoots black man timeline/ Mills, C. W. (1959). The sociological imagination New York: Oxford University Press. Newman, A. (2014, December 2). The death of Eric Garner, and the events that followed. The New York Times Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/12/04/ nyregion/ 04garner timeline.html O'Neil, L. (2014, August 14). 'Han ds up, don't shoot' gesture spreads online in support of Ferguson protesters. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/newsblogs/yourcommunity/2014/08/hands up dont shoot gesture spreads online in support of ferguson protesters.html Ortiz, E. (2015, May 1). Fredd ie Gray: From Baltimore arrest to protests, a timeline of the case NBC News Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/baltimore unrest/timeline freddie gray case arrest protests n351156 Presente.org. (2015, February). #Justice4Jessie: Investigate Denver pd. Retrieved from http://act.presente.org/sign/justice4jessie

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70 Ragin, C.C. (1994). Constructing social r esearch Thousand Oaks, CA:Pine Forge Press. Ratliff, T. N., & Hall, L. L. (2014). Practicing the art of dissent: Toward a typology of protest activity in the United States. Humanity & Society 38(3), 268 294. doi:10.1177/0160597614537796 Raynauld, V., & Greenberg, J. (2014). Tweet, click, vote: Twitter and the 2010 Ottawa municipal election. Journal o f Information Technology & Politics 11 (4), 412. doi:10.1080/19331681.2014.935840 Salda–a, J. (2015). Thinking qualitatively: Methods of mind Los Angeles: Sage Publications. Seidman, T.E. (1998). Interviewing as q ua litative research: A guide for researchers in education and the social s ciences New York, NY:Teachers College Press. Silverstein, J. (2015, April 07). Walter Scott video: Celebs share outrage online. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/walter scott video celebs share outrage online article 1.2177077 Small, T. A. (2011). What the Hashtag?. Information, Communication & Society 14 (6), 872 895. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2011.554572 Smiley, C., & Fakunle, D. (2016). From "brute" to "thug:" The demonization and criminalization of unarmed Black male victims in America. Journal Of Human Behavior In The Social Environment 26(3/4), 350 366. doi:10.1080/10911359.2015.1129256 Surette, R. (2015). Media, crime, and criminal justice: Images, realities, and policies (5th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning. Teresi, H., & Michelson, M. R. (2015). Wired to mobilize: The effect of social networking messages on voter turnout. Social Science Journal 52 (2), 195 204. doi:10.1016/j.soscij.2014.09.004 United States Department of Justic e Civil Rights Division. (2015 ). Investigation of the Ferguson Police Department Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/sites/default/ files/opa/press releases/attachments/2015/03/h04/ferguson_police_department_ report.pdf. Van Laer, J., & Van Aelst, P. (2010). Internet and social mov ement action repertoires: Opportunities and limitations. Information, Communication & Society 13(8), 1146 1171. doi:10.1080/13691181003628307

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71 Vissers, S., & Stolle, D. (2014). Spill over effects between Facebook and on/offline political participation? Evidence from a two wave panel study. Journal o f Information Technology & Politics 11(3), 259. doi:10.1080/19331681.2014.888383 Vogel, B. L. (2011). Perceptio ns of the police: The influence of individual and contextual factors in a racially diverse urban sample. Journal o f Ethnicity In Criminal Justice 9 (4), 267. doi:10.1080/15377938.2011.609399

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72 APPENDIX A INFORMED CONSENT About the Study This research is designed to ex plore the relationship between activists' use of social media (i.e., Facebook and Twitter) and the social movement's focus on policing in marginalized communities. The study aims to gather information regarding social activists' use of Facebo ok and Twitter, and how the dynamics of this social movement are perceived as affecting community relations with police. Research will be conducted through non participant observation of activists' events and through in depth interviews with activists from two cities in Colorado. Interviews will last approximately one hour. The use of social media by activists is a recent development and an area that needs further research. The current research will be essential in establishing a rich narrative of how injus tice can be challenged through the perspectives of diverse community members. Voluntary Participation The choice of whether to participate in this study is completely up to you. Your participation is completely voluntary, and refusal to participate will i nvolve no penalty to you. If you decide to participate in the study, you have the right to withdraw your consent or discontinue participation at any time. You also have the right to refuse to answer any question you do not wish to answer. Confidentiality All of your answers and comments are confidential. Your responses to interview questions will be protected according to professional standards established by the Institutional Review Board at the University of Colorado Denver. The information you provide will only be reported in aggregate form. Access to raw data is limited to the researcher and graduate student working on this project. The data will be securely stored for a three year time period only. Benefits and Risks to Participation Although you may not directly benefit from completing this interview, this research will provide you with the opportunity to present your perspectives and opinions about the

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73 importance and goals of social activism. The minimal risks to you participation may include feelin gs of discomfort regarding any particular interview question. Researcher Contact Information If you have any questions or concerns about the research study, please contact Nancy Contreras by phone (805) 501 3093 or e mail: Nancy.Contreras@ucdenver.edu. If you have any questions about your rights as a participant, you may contact the Human Subjects Research Committee Administrator, 1201 Larimer St., Denver, CO, 80210, at (303) 556 2400. Thank you for your support, Nancy Contreras, Principal Investigator Mary Dodge, Ph.D.

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74 APPENDIX B INTERVIEW PROTOCOL 1. What are your goals for protesting against police agencies? a. What do you hope to accomplish? 2. How do you use social media to distribute your message? a. What types of social media? b. Which types seem to be more successful? c. Why are those types more successful? 3. How is social media influencing the movement to address police use of force? 4. What are positive aspects of protest activities ? 5. What are negative aspects of protest activities ? 6. How can protests influence public perceptions of law enforcement? 7. From your perspective, how do you define social activism? a. Are there different types? b. Are there different activist roles? 8. Do you believe the police are hearing your message? 9. Do you see any divisiveness among the protest groups themselves?

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75 APPENDIX C DON'T SHOOT LYRICS By: Ajonte Hinton Colorado Artist Verse: I seen the pictures, I honestly feel the pain, Scandalous how they murder our generation everyday, Tired of them killing us, I'm on my way to Ferguson, Talk to dizzy, Family safe, Thankfully during this, Mother praying, Hoping every night I make it home, We ain't gotta chalk the streets, Just to give our people hope, I seen J.Cole out there, Wishing I could make a change, Zimmerman off trial, People cry, Others just celebrate, They killing dreams, They killing teens, That's a issue, Mothers cry, While children's dye, Here's ya tissue, We gotta stick together, Cause we all we got, P olice don't really help cause they the ones taking the shots, (Pow, Pow) Emitt till was young, Y'all ain't have to take his life, Ezell ford I hope your living a blessing life, Just know people, Everything is gonna be alright, Trayvon and mike brown death That ain't even right, History repeats itself, Like the same instrumental, Americas a glass house, My revenge is something very mental, Ima be real about it, And ima say it loud, Like James Brown said I am black and I am proud, I still don't understand, The pain that falls deep around, Ima live a great life, Just to sit and make my family proud, Staying out of trouble, Staying out the streets, I pray to god, Nothing ever happens to me...