Over 100 police agencies are pulling out of security agreements for next month’s Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee. The agencies are walking away over orders that would prevent law enforcement officers from using specific crowd control measures during protests.
At the event, which takes place on Aug. 17-20, the DNC expects to nominate Joe Biden as the party’s presidential candidate. The police departments pulling out of the event come from a collective of outside agencies expected to send officers to the Democratic National Convention.
Agencies began withdrawing from the agreement after Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission directed Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales to change policy regarding the use of tear gas and pepper spray, Fox News reports. Following the George Floyd protests, law enforcement officers used tear gas on the crowds. The civilian oversight commission issued the directive to restrict the use of the gas following the protest.
Chief Morales did not mention which agencies plan to pull out of the agreements. While speaking with WTMJ-TV, the original plan involved using 1,000 officers from outside agencies. Morales also mentioned the authorities considered using the National Guard or federal assistance.
Democratic National Convention: Will More Police Agencies Continue to Withdraw?
Fond du Lac Police Chief William Lamb tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he expects even more agencies to withdraw. “We regret having to do that,” Lamb says. “We respect the Fire and Police Commission’s decision. But in this particular case, we strongly disagree with the actions they’ve taken.”
He continued by saying: “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.”
Robert Fletcher, the West Allis Deputy Chief, says the police agencies dropping out raises safety concerns. “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.”
[H/T Fox News]