photo credit: stories.avvo.com
At the Downtown Cleveland Resident’s RNC Impact Meeting earlier this evening, many specific questions that required specific answers instead elicited general statements intended to reassure those living and working in the downtown area during convention week. One question concerned the report that members of the New Black Panther party will be protesting in Cleveland this week and will be open-carrying firearms. True? True.
Ohio law allows NBP members who are domiciled in Ohio to open carry. Those from out-of-state cannot. Doesn’t this pose a risk? The strategy: If you see something, say something. There will be policemen everywhere. So that’s it? Some of us wanted more specifics, especially about contingency plans when violence erupts.
As planned, I asked whether they were going to call out the National Guard. The exchange of expressions between the guy from the FBI and the Secret Service guy was telling, as though they had hoped that direct question would not be asked. The Secret Service agent fielded the question by saying that some of the plans that law enforcement has in place will remain confidential. The Ohio National Guard is listed as a partner on the RNC Cleveland website, and I took that non-answer as a yes.
My impression is that all these agencies are walking a fine line between disclosing their security plans sufficiently to reassure Clevelanders, but not so sufficiently as to give anarchists and others intent on disruption and violence, information which they will immediately take on board, the better to execute whatever violent plans they are working on.
On the way back from the meeting, we passed a lot of black SUVs with out-of-state plates, some with FBI dashboard id's, and lots of pallets on the sidewalks with barrier equipment. Going up soon. I also stopped a Cleveland Policeman on the sidewalk, thanked him for serving, and shook his hand. If I am worried about how the next week will go, how must he and his fellow officers feel?