The Democratic National Convention is to be held soon in Milwaukee, August 17-20, during which former Vice President Joe Biden will officially be named the Democratic presidential nominee. Things just got trickier for DNC members as over 100 police departments have pulled out of protecting the event.
Tensions have been high between Democrats and law enforcement as Mayors, Governors and Senators all around the country have been defending the Black Lives Matter protesters as well as their push to defund the police. Democrats also have been calling for measures to incapacitate the capabilities of police departments such as banning chokeholds, increased use of cameras and greater restrictions on defense mechanisms officers typically rely on.
Originally, at least 1,000 officers from outside agencies were planned to be sent as security for the DNC in August. However, in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission “directed Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales to change department policy to restrict the use of tear gas and pepper spray” reported Fox News.
A “civilian oversight commission issued the directive last week in response to the use of tear gas on crowds during protests following the death of George Floyd” according to Fox News. It is unknown which agencies have pulled out of the convention, but Wisconsin Police Chief William Lamb believes more will follow suit and retract their officers from the DNC.
Although the Democratic National Convention will now be almost entirely virtual due to the coronavirus, roughly 300 people are still expected to be in attendance. Although it’s a small crowd, police departments worry they will be powerless if restless, rioters and vandals show up to protest and continue their violent rampage across the country.
Wisconsin’s Fond du Lac Police Chief William Lamb told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that “we regret having to do that…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” added Lamb.
West Allis Deputy Chief Robert Fletcher had a similar sentiment: “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.” Certainly, Democrats won’t need any police presence and will have no problem using their standard tactics with the protesters; agreeing, listening and cowering to their every demand.