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Bystanders, brawls, and the court of public opinion
The narrative surrounding an event can often be as influential as the event itself. Public opinion and the perceptions of bystanders can significantly shape the narrative, even if they do not have full context or understanding of the situation.
This is particularly true for police, who in recent years have seen worsening results in the public discourse.
The “court of public opinion” is now increasingly magnified, where social media and online platforms can amplify and distort narratives. Our actions, especially in public situations, can have far-reaching consequences beyond the immediate confrontation; despite millions of interactions where nothing noteworthy happens, a single bad police interaction can even lead to protests and unrest in other countries.
My message here is ultimately simple – give some consideration to how you might appear to bystanders in any given situation. Facts are subservient to emotion.