Muslim activist group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the American Civil Liberties Union and others have formed a coalition questioning Cleveland police and their plan to use riot response equipment at the upcoming Republican Nation Convention.
The groups will hold a press conference Monday to present their demands regarding the city’s plans to buy riot equipment ahead of the Republican National Convention in July, The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports. The city received a $50 million grant to pay for additional security, though it is unclear how all that money will be spent. The groups do not totally oppose riot equipment, but they are calling on the city to be more transparent about how money for security is being spent. They also want all “military type equipment” to be decommissioned after the convention.
The city received the grant to buy riot gear, batons, steel barriers and to increase other security after warnings that the convention could see riots. They say the equipment is especially warranted after a series of violent political rallies. A Donald Trump rally in Chicago was cancelled when the crowd got out of control after anti-Trump protesters arrived. Trump himself told CNN there may be riots if he doesn’t get the nomination, which could be decided in July if there is a contested convention. Trump also warned in a tweet that his supporters might show up to cause trouble at Bernie Sanders’ campaign events.
Bernie Sanders is lying when he says his disruptors aren’t told to go to my events. Be careful Bernie, or my supporters will go to yours!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2016
CAIR will be present at the Monday news conference, as well as Cleveland Peace Action and the National Lawyers Guild. It’s worth noting the FBI has cut ties with CAIR because it has been associated with a terrorism funding scheme.
“The democratic process is playing out across the country and if no one candidate reaches a majority of the delegates, there will be an open and transparent process in Cleveland,” Kirsten Kukowski, communications director for the RNC, told Bloomberg.
Cleveland is under a consent degree with the Department of Justice to reform the city’s police department after allegations of systematic excessive use of force. The consent decree came after the death of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy shot by police while carrying a toy gun.
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