It looks like the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee is going to have a hard time finding police officers to work the event. The Associated Press reports that more than 100 police agencies are pulling out of security agreements for the convention. Some are citing a recent order by the city’s police commission to end the use of tear gas for crowd control:
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…
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.
Yesterday the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel identified four Wisconsin police forces who were pulling out:
The moves by police departments in Fond du Lac, Franklin, Greendale and West Allis 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. Even though Democrats are holding a mostly virtual convention, protests are anticipated.
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.
As mentioned above, the sudden shift is based upon a directive issued by the city’s Fire and Police Commission last Monday making specific demands on Chief Morales. There had been speculation that Morales was about to get fired and that could still happen if the Commission isn’t satisfied with his response.
Since the start of protests, Morales has had harsh things to say about the behavior of protesters. In early June he got visibly angry when describing treatment of police officers: “People are trying to kill police officers! We have officers that are being followed home. The Madison Sheriff had his house surrounded. Why are our families now being targeted?”
So you can probably see why protesters don’t like Chief Morales very much. In fact, what he described in June has been happening at his own home for the past week. Protesters have been showing up in the street in front of Morales house for what they call “protest parties.”
The protesters say they’re “bringing the fight against racism to front doors.” But Ald. Nikiya Dodd — who represents the 5th District, where Morales lives — says the protests are a nuisance and a threat to public safety that must be addressed immediately…
The party protests outside Morales’ home began last Wednesday, organized on Facebook. Protesters arrived outside Morales’ house with loudspeaker systems, food and refreshments. Off and on, they’ve chanted “You about to lose your job.”…
Gregory Holley, a 53-year-old neighbor, said he’s seen driveways blocked, a fire pit in the street and toddlers running through the road. He said he saw young children, about 4 or 5 years old, running up Morales’ driveway and shining flashlights into the windows.
This behavior is especially worrisome to Morales because less than three years ago, a man shooting his gun sent bullets into his home while he and his family were sleeping:
Jaquarius Hunt, 22, was sentenced Tuesday for reckless endangerment and firearms charges in the September 2017 incident that left as many as 14 bullet casings in and around Morales’ home…
Police responded about 3:30 a.m. to Morales’ home to find bullets had shattered the kitchen window, sliding patio door and living room window. Morales and his family were sleeping on the second floor of the home when the shots were fired.
I wonder if the police agencies that are pulling out of the DNC are doing so in part because of the way Chief Morales has been treated by the city. And more than that, I wonder if some of them are just fed up with the idea of participating in a party’s convention when the party itself seems to be pretty consistently siding with violent protesters over the police. They won’t say that directly because those aren’t grounds for backing out of a commitment, but I strongly suspect some of the officers just don’t want to be there.
In any case, the convention that was originally supposed to host 50,000 people has now been moved to a smaller venue across the street. Only about 300 people are scheduled to be there. The convention itself has been whittled down to 2 hours of TV for four consecutive nights, some of it pre-recorded. So they probably won’t need as many police as they planned for months ago.
Still, the Democrats are going to be in quite a mess if a mass of protesters show up and they don’t have enough police to handle it. Vandalism and violence outside could very quickly overwhelm coverage of the main event. I suspect far-left protesters are aware of that and may decide to seize the opportunity to make themselves the story.