The Cleveland police union, in the wake of the tragic murders of three officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, requested patrolling officers be allowed to work in groups, particularly when venturing outside the downtown security zones. That appears to be exactly what happened—except the groups are a little larger than one might have expected.
More than 500 Cleveland police officers are guarding the downtown area, which has been divided in quarters by patrols. Thousands of outside officers have also been deployed, though their supervisors report directly to Cleveland P.D. “We want to put the agencies that are assisting us in the least amount of vulnerability as possible, as far as arrests,” Cleveland’s police chief, Calvin Williams, told reporters last week.
There have been few arrests, however. Police nabbed three perpetrators early Tuesday morning after a group of climbers hung a banner outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The display was meant to oppose fracking and to support immigrant rights. The banner, which was promptly removed by the Cleveland Fire Department, reportedly read: “Don’t Trump Our Communities.”
Williams sounded pretty satisfied Tuesday morning, noting only five arrests had been necessary thus far. Arrest No. 1 took place on Monday after an event-goer allegedly tried to steal a police officer’s gas mask. A second person was arrested for an outstanding warrant near Speaker’s Corner.
“All in all, not a bad day,” said Williams. “Lots of things going on, lots of moving parts.”
But as for why things have remained so calm, well, it appears there is little choice. The police in downtown Cleveland—many of them appearing almost sci-fi in their blacked-out mountain biking gear—outnumber any other group, including journalists, of which there are reportedly 15,000 in the area. By sheer force of numbers, the cops are keeping things on an even keel.
So. Many. Cops.
So many cops pic.twitter.com/9erRRu2aZK— Mike Hayes (@michaelhayes) July 19, 2016
Tons of cops, and they are swarming.
Tons of cops on Euclid, overheard one saying they were looking for a "couple anarchists" #RNCinCLE— Kyle Swenson (@kyletalking) July 19, 2016
Saw my first swarm of 50 heavily padded cops on black bikes. Shades of 2000 DNC in L.A. #RNCinCLE— Matt Welch (@MattWelch) July 17, 2016
One thing is for sure, they outnumber protesters wherever they go:
Cleveland police on bicycles outnumber demonstrators here. pic.twitter.com/XVWXr2c3Fg— Nick Castele (@NickCastele) July 15, 2016
And it’s kind of hard to kick off an angry protest with all these cops around.
The RNC will kick off its second night of prime-time TV coverage, hoping to reboot what was by and large a disastrous opening day. Tuesday night’s theme is “Make America Work Again.” Headliners include Donald Trump, Jr., Sen. Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, former Trump campaign rival Ben Carson, and American actress Kimberlin Brown.