More than 100 Police Agencies Pulling Out of Democratic Convention Security Agreements
Over 100 police agencies are backing off of security agreements to send their people to next month’s Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee following orders that would stop authorities from using certain violence control measures during protests, according to reports.
The police departments were part of a group of agencies ready to send cops to make sure the event – which will take place from August 17 to 20 – is secure. During this time, Joe Biden is expected to be named the democratic party’s presidential nominee. This comes after the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission told Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales to alter the policy of the department in order to limit the use of tear gas and pepper spray.
Last week, a directive by the civilian oversight commission was brought out in response to the use of tear gas on rioters during protests following the senseless death of George Floyd. The event, which is scheduled to take place at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, has been reduced to a virtual event for the most part.
A maximum of 300 people are expected to be there in person.
In his interview with WTMJ-TV, Morales did not specify which agencies were withdrawing or how many officers were still set to be in attendance. The initial plan was to have a minimum of 1000 policemen coming from outside agencies. Morales added that the use of the National Guard or federal assistance is currently being considered as an option for solving the situation.
Wisconsin police departments withdraw assistance to Milwaukee for Democratic National Convention due to the recent ban on tools used for riot control and not being able to guarantee assistance for the Officers' safety https://t.co/ZgBIzVOfoa
— True Blue Warriors (@TruBluWarriors) July 28, 2020
Fond du Lac Police Chief William Lamb of Wisconsin told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he was awaiting more agencies from the state to pull out from the program.
“We regret having to do that,” he said. “We respect the Fire and Police Commission’s decision. But in this particular case, we strongly disagree with the actions they’ve taken.
“We believe in removing those tools, the use of chemical irritants or pepper spray, from the available resources that the law enforcement officers would have at their disposal if protests become non-peaceful would severely compromise the safety of the public and also the safety of the law enforcement officers who would be assigned to protect the DNC,” Lamb added.
The use of tear gas has come under scrutiny from progressive lawmakers and activists who claim law enforcement personnel across the county have deployed the tool indiscriminately on protesters.
I'm glad to see chiefs protecting their officers and not letting Milw libs put them in danger.
— Jay Weber (@JayWeber3) July 28, 2020
Over in Portland, Oregon, agents have been using tear gas to disperse groups amid nightly unrest in the city’s downtown area.
West Allis Deputy Chief Robert Fletcher said this decision raised safety concerns for his department.
“Our concern is that in the event protests turn non-peaceful, such a policy would remove tools from officers that may otherwise be legal and justifiable to utilize in specific situations,” Fletcher told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Similar concerns were also raised by Franklin Police Chief Rick Oliva in a letter to Morales.
“I can not send personnel if they are not properly equipped or will not be allowed to engage in appropriate actions which would ensure their safety,” the mail read.
The police chief of Waukesha said he was in talks with the city’s attorney’s office about the withdrawal from the agreement, which had promised a good number of Waukesha officers.
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