More than a 100 police agencies have pulled out of a plan to provide security for the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee.
According to the Associated Press, the police agencies made the decision in part because of new restrictions on police action by the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission.
The commission ordered Police Chief Alfonso Morales to ban the use of tear gas and pepper spray based on the recommendation from their citizen oversight commission. The citizen commission also demanded to know from Morales why the department used tear gas on protesters in May and June.
Morales was told he could be fired if he didn’t comply with the demands.
On Tuesday, Morales told WTMJ-TV that more than 100 law enforcement agencies had pulled out of providing security for the DNC over concerns about the order to ban tear gas and pepper spray.
The convention is scheduled Aug. 17-20 at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee.
‘One hand tied behind their back’
West Allis Deputy Chief Robert Fletcher explained to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in a statement via email why some police were pulling out of the event.
“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,” Fletcher said.
Fond Du Lac Police Department Chief William Lamb also cited the same concerns to WISN-TV.
“Those tools are time-proven to, to be able to be very safe and effectively prevent, stop, or otherwise control protests that are becoming non-peaceful,” said Lamb.
“They’re asking them to do that dangerous work with one hand tied behind their back,” he added. “And I will not ask the men and women of my department to do that.”
Although most of the activities of the convention have been reduced in scope because of the coronavirus pandemic, law enforcement officials believe this will encourage even more protests. They expected to have more than 1,000 officers to provide security for the event.
Other police departments, like the Madison Police Department, sought to escape their agreement for security because their own law enforcement needs had grown over the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s more about cops dropping the Democratic National Convention:
Police departments back out of helping with DNC