Civil Rights and Justice Advocates to Hold Press Conference on Purchase of Riot Gear for RNC
CLEVELAND— On Monday, March 21, civil rights and justice advocates will hold a press conference on the steps of Cleveland City Hall to address what they assert are significant potential problems regarding plans for the procurement of equipment and deployment of personnel from the Cleveland Division of Police at the upcoming Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland July 18-21.
The City of Cleveland has not established a meaningful and transparent process whereby citizens can be informed and can provide public comment in a timely way about the equipment that the City will be purchasing under the $50 million federal grant for security for the convention.
“In light of the fact that the City of Cleveland is under a federal consent decree due to its unconstitutional police practices, the public deserves a say in what equipment the City is purchasing with the $50 million dollars in federal security funding,” said Christine Link, executive director of the ACLU of Ohio. “Past conventions have employed inappropriate, often dangerous military-type equipment that were improperly deployed and which resulted in civil rights violations and injury to both bystanders and peaceful demonstrators. We ask full transparency from City Hall regarding so-called ‘crowd control’ equipment purchases with opportunity for meaningful citizen input.”
See the National Lawyers Guild presentation on “What to Expect When You’re Expecting the 2016 RNC”
Speakers will also present a letter of concern signed by local organizations and call on Cleveland City Council to pass a de-militarization resolution, committing the Cleveland Police Department to de-commission any purchased military-type equipment after the RNC.
Press conference participants include the ACLU of Ohio; Cleveland Peace Action; Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild; CAIR Cleveland; Greater Cleveland Civil and Human Rights Coalition; Black on Black Crime, Code Pink, NAACP, Veterans for Peace Chapter 39 – NE Ohio, Carl Stokes Brigade, Cleveland Nonviolence Network, and others.