Over 100 Police Agencies Pull Out Of Democratic National Convention In Milwaukee
For nearly two months, protests, riots and autonomous zones have erupted calling for the defunding of police. These demands were echoed by many prominent Democratic politicians on Capitol Hill and in several major cities.
The idea of defunding the police gained traction back in May after the death of George Floyd. There has also been a call to completely abolish the police. Again, many of the voices being those of people on the left. As a result of these issues, many police officers across the country have called it quits.
The Democratic National Convention is set to take place on August 17-20 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and more than 100 police agencies poised to send officers to secure the event have pulled out of security agreements. This comes after the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission ordered Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales to restrict the use of tear gas and pepper spray against citizens.
The citizen oversight commission in Milwaukee made this decision last week amid the use of tear gas on crowds during protests. The original plan, according to The Chicago Tribune, was to have 1,000 officers on-hand to assist with security. Morales has said utilizing the National Guard was under consideration, as well as federal assistance.
The event, being held at the Wisconsin Center, is going to be a mostly virtual event, with only 300 people in attendance.
Fond du Lac Police Chief William Lamb says that he expects more agencies to withdraw from the program.
"We regret having to do that," Lamb said. "We respect the Fire and Police Commission's decision. But in this particular case, we strongly disagree with the actions they've taken," referring to the action taken against the use of tear gas and pepper spray. He adds:
We believe in removing those tools, the use of chemical irritants or pepper spray, from the available resources that the law enforcement officers would have at their disposal if protests become non-peaceful would severely compromise the safety of the public and also the safety of the law enforcement officers who would be assigned to protect the DNC.
It is to be noted that not all departments and agencies withdrew as a result of this order. According to madison.com, assistant Police Chief Paige Valenta said in an email, “an accelerating COVID-19 pandemic coupled with ongoing protests in Madison have strained city of Madison Police Department resources to the degree that we are no longer able to commit any resources to the August 2020 DNC.”
Most of the agencies, however, have withdrew as a result of this order. Many are concerned that their officers will not be properly equipped to take on any potential threats at the event. There were no reports made by Alfonso Morales on which agencies withdrew or how many officers were still expected.
Caiden Anderson is an Opinion Contributor for The National Times.