Joe Biden and his campaign for the presidency suffered an embarrassing setback as over 100 police agencies pulled out of the big DNC convention.
They are rebelling against rules that may restrict what they can do should massive protests break out.
“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,” West Allis Deputy Chief Robert Fletcher said. The event is scaled-down and will be mostly virtual but this is a repudiation of how Dem Mayors run their cities.
More than 100 police agencies are withdrawing from agreements to send personnel to bolster security at next month’s Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee, in part because they’re concerned about a recent directive ordering police in the city to stop using tear gas to control crowds.
A citizen oversight commission last week directed Milwaukee’s police chief to publicly account for why the department used tear gas during protests in late May and early June after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and to change Milwaukee’s police policies to ban the use of tear gas and pepper spray. The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission said in its order that Police Chief Alfonso Morales could be fired if he fails to comply.
That order came amid intense scrutiny of police tactics at protests in Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere.
Since the Milwaukee order was issued, more than 100 law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin and across the country decided against coming to Milwaukee, Morales told WTMJ-TV on Tuesday. They were concerned with directives placed on the police department, including not allowing tear gas or pepper spray, he said.
Morales did not say which agencies would not be coming or how many officers were still expected. The original plan was to have 1,000 officers on hand from outside agencies to assist with security. Morales said utilizing the National Guard or enlisting federal assistance was under consideration.
The convention, scheduled for Aug. 17-Aug. 20 at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee, has been scaled down to a mostly virtual event, with only about 300 people expected to attend in-person.
Most of the speeches will be delivered online from other locations, though former Vice President Joe Biden has said he will be in Milwaukee to accept the nomination. Despite the event’s smaller scale, police are preparing for potentially large protests in and around the venue.
A spokeswoman for the convention did not immediately return a message seeking comment Tuesday.
The Milwaukee police oversight commission also did not return a message seeking comment.
At least 100 law enforcement agencies have withdrawn agreements to send personnel to next month’s Democratic National Convention, some of them citing orders to Milwaukee’s police chief to cease the use of tear gas and pepper spray during demonstrations.
The withdrawals cast doubt on a program to bring about 1,000 police officers from outside agencies to help shore up security for the event, scheduled for the week of Aug 17. Among the agencies confirmed to have withdrawn are police departments in Fond du Lac, Franklin, Greendale and West Allis.
Asked on Monday if the agreements were collapsing, Fond du Lac Police Chief William Lamb said, “Yes,” adding that he expects other agencies from across the state to withdraw from the program.
“We regret having to do that,” said Lamb, who chairs the Wisconsin Police Executive Group, which consists of police chiefs from cities with populations of more than 20,000 people.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) July 28, 2020