Wisconsin police abandon Democrat convention over safety concerns
Wisconsin police organizations have told the Milwaukee Police Department that they will no longer be planning on providing additional officers for the Democrat National Convention in three weeks. The reserve police are worried that provisions forced on Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales — like banning the use of non-lethal tear gas — will put officers and protesters at additional risk.
“When you rule an unlawful assembly to help break up that crowd, once we deem them unruly, that’s a safe manner in doing so. Not having those tools increases the potential for more violence,” Morales said according to local WTMJ4 TV. “That’s a big concern for the law enforcement community within Milwaukee and outside of Milwaukee.”
“Milwaukee would be screwed if it weren’t for the fact that DNC convention is just a shell of what it was to be this year. Still might be in trouble. This is what happens when you stop law enforcement from keeping our communities and themselves safe,” warned former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).
Previously Milwaukee had requested up an additional 1,000 officers to deal with the increased numbers of visitors caused by the convention and the likely protests that the convention will spawn.
Chiefs in nearby cities Fond du Lac and West Allis have said that banning tear gas makes it more likely that protests in Milwaukee will get out of hand.
“I am unwilling to ask West Allis Officers to work in an uncertain environment where they may not have the appropriate equipment to safeguard citizens and themselves,” said West Allis Chief Patrick Mitchell about pulling out of the convention.
Fond du Lac Chief William Lamb said that while he understood the concern in using tear gas, nonetheless, chemical irritants “are a time proven tool that can be used to very safely and effectively prevent, stop or otherwise control protests that have become non-peaceful from escalating into full rioting and extreme violence.”
The Milwaukee Police are governed by a seven-member, part-time, civilian committee appointed by the mayor and the city council. The committee recently sent Chief Morales a number of demands, including the tear gas ban. Morales was told to accept the demands or he would be fired.
“If you don’t satisfy us with your answers to these directives you can be disciplined or fired,” said Franklyn Gimbel, Morales’ attorney, and a former governing committee member. “That suggests to me their endgame is to create a cause for that discharge.”
Morales says that with just here weeks to find extra security for the convention, he might have to ask the Wisconsin National Guard or federal agents to provide protection.
Obviously, Democrats will be anxious to avoid the irony of federal agents, provided by President Donald Trump, protecting the DNC because Democrats won’t let the police do their job.
“The Fire and Police Commission is expected to discuss the discontinuation of tear gas and pepper spray at their meeting this Thursday,” says WTMJ4.
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