Thursday, June 16, 2016

ACLU Files Lawsuit Over Protests for Republican National Convention
7:25 PM, JUNE 14, 2016

CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM is uncovering more about growing friction over plans for protests the week of the Republican National Convention including a federal lawsuit just filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU is asking a federal judge to order Cleveland to loosen rules for protest marches and begin issuing permits. Cleveland City Hall has said protest marches and speeches at a speaker’s platform would be restricted due to downtown security concerns.

ACLU Executive Director Christine Link said, “I think the security issue is an excuse for overly severe restrictions. It’s perfectly possible to have organized parades without trouble.”

The ACLU says the city’s rules and the slow process in issuing permits is equivalent to denying free speech. And the group says the security zone rules are unfair to the homeless living on the street.

The federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of a group supporting Donald Trump, a group organizing a march against poverty, and the homeless.

Meantime, the I TEAM has learned another activist has asked the city for permission to have protestors camp on a city lot. John Penley would also like the city to donate water and toilets. He promises the group would clean up. Penley said by email, “I want to suggest that the City of Cleveland take a look at comments people are making on news reports about the upcoming Anti-Trump protests in Cleveland, and if they do it becomes quite clear that my asking them to allow me to set up a Safe Space for out-of-town protesters at the RNC is very reasonable and justified.”

Penley is waiting for an answer on that.

The I TEAM is also waiting for answers from City Hall to questions about the overall timetable for issuing permits. Multiple sources tell us an outside law firm has also been working with the city in dealing with the ACLU, but the city has not responded to questions about that either.

The ACLU says negotiations with the city failed concerning the permits. Now the group is asking the federal court to move this legal action on a fast track with the Convention just weeks away.

I-Team obtains memo with list of police departments helping with RNC security

9:13 AM, JUNE 15, 2016

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Fox 8 I-Team has obtained a recent police memo outlining police departments planning to send officers here to help with security for the Republican National Convention.

The memo dated May 24 shows a total of 809 officers coming from about three dozen departments.

The police union has complained that the city has not attracted enough help from outside agencies.

Last week at a council safety meeting, however, Police Chief Calvin Williams , who would not gives specific figures, said with federal and local agencies the city would have “thousands” of officers on the street during the convention

The memo the I-Team obtained states 33 officers from Akron will be coming for the RNC, and police there confirmed they are still sending that number. But the list also includes 20 officers from Greensboro, NC , but Greensboro has since said they are not sending any officers.

The same holds true for Erie County Sheriff’s Office. They are listed as sending 12 but the sheriff said Wednesday morning they won’t be sending any officers.

“Our priorities changed and we need to be here,” said Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth. He said he notified the city about two weeks ago.

The police staffing list appears to be fluid. Williams said last week he is speaking with different departments daily. Sandusky police are marked on the list to send eight, but Police Chief John Orzech said that was a number he sent last year.

“We will send as many as we can to help out, but I don’t know if it will be 8,” Orzech said.

I TEAM: new rules for police equipment for Republican Convention

8:33 PM, JUNE 14, 2016

CLEVELAND – The FOX 8 I TEAM has learned a series of memos have just been issued to Cleveland Police Administrative Units outlining equipment bought for officers during the Republican National Convention. Each memo, called a Departmental Notice, also outlines the rules for use of the equipment.

It gives us the most detailed look so far at some of what Cleveland is buying with your tax dollars for the Convention.

Among the equipment outlined:

“personal protective equipment” (commonly called riot gear) for field force units
personal protective gear for bike patrol officers
26″ expandable batons for field force officers
40″ batons for the mounted unit
 helmets and  shields for SWAT officers various “less lethal” munitions such as pepper spray
4 vans to transport officers
5 vans to transport prisoners
6 John Deere Gator crew cab utility vehicles
2 pick-up trucks and 3 trailers for the mounted unit
1 SUV for part of “rapid response to civil disturbances”
 helmets with face shields for the mounted and traffic units
 ballistic helmets and 3 shields for SWAT
“variety of quantities” of “less-lethal munitions” for crowd management (including what’s commonly referred to as pepper spray)

The documents include detailed rules for when and how officers can use the equipment.

The city is also planning training for officers on “The Rights and Limitations of the Public and Media to Film Police Officers.” In other words, training dealing with what officers should know about the public and media recording officers on video.

Cleveland Police Union President Steve Loomis released this statement to the ITEAM:

“Our attorneys have not had an opportunity to thoroughly review these new rules issued at this late date.  We certainly have very little time to be properly trained in their implementation
It is indeed unfortunate and shortsighted of the city to not have allowed us an opportunity to work with them in the development of new policies that may or may not have a profound impact on the safety of our officers, citizens, and law abiding protestors alike.”

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