Case 7 – De-escalation: Protest


This scenario is based on an actual event at a protest rally. A male police officer intervened in a conversation between a female officer and a female protestor. The situation escalated, as is shown in the video. Download the full facilitator’s copy of Case 7.

Notes to Facilitator

There can be four to six participants in each breakout group. While gender could be a significant factor in the scenario, the make-up of participant groups need not be; however, a mixed gender group is recommended. Recognize that the content and discussion may be triggering for some participants.

Ask the participants to note their general reaction. After viewing the Foundational Scenario video, ask them: “Who did you align with most? The female protestor, the female police officer or the male police officer?”

What are your learning objectives for this exercise or course? What prompts could you add to extend or expand the simulation in that direction? What additional resources or assignments might you add? 

Foundational Scenario

Watch Officer Bubbles[1] in the video below

Scenario 1

You have been asked to serve on a task force to explore how the police department can use news footage such as this in de-escalation training. Consider who might be asked to serve on this task force (e.g., police leadership, training officers, experienced frontline officers, human resource personnel, union executive, etc.) and assign individual group members to these specific roles. After reviewing the video, articulate whose position, if anyone’s, you most closely align with. From that position, discuss how each officer might have behaved differently to resolve and de-escalate the situation. Discuss factors such as whether they did or did not work as a team, tipping-points where things could have gone either way, and what might have been done to better assess the protestor and mitigate the situation.

Scenario 2

In groups of three or four, role play a conversation between the female police officer and the male police officer at the station after the events in the video. Things that might be raised include whether they did or did not work as a team, their rationale for behaving as they did, and how each is feeling after-the-fact about their actions. Depending on group composition, as well as exploring the role play with one male and one female, try exploring the role play with two males or two females, or nonbinary participants. Do the dynamics change? How? Other team members should take notes and be part of the discussion once the role play is completed, noting any issues of power that may arise during the role play.

Watch an Example with Learners of Case 7 in the Video below

  1. © Mirror Theatre retains the rights to all videos and scripts produced by them, as indicated in the simulations. Go to for more information.


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Exploring Interpersonal Dynamics Through Role Play Copyright © by Catherine Jenkins, Kevin Hobbs, & Joe Norris is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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