The head of Cleveland’s largest police union has just called on Ohio Gov. John Kasich to temporarily restrict the state’s open carry gun laws and the Second Amendment during this week’s Republican National Convention.
This call comes as members of various Black “Open Carry” and self-defense organizations began arriving in the city.
When various “gun rights” groups, with predominantly pro-Republican agendas and predominantly Caucasian members said they planned to show up, there was still no call from the police. Suddenly, as more and more African American armed protesters began checking in on the streets of Cleveland, the police made the call to the governor.
“We are sending a letter to Gov. Kasich requesting assistance from him. He could very easily do some kind of executive order or something – I don’t care if it’s constitutional or not at this point,” Stephen Loomis, president of Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association, audaciously said.
Ohio police, like police in every other state, are sworn to uphold not only the federal and state constitutions, but also the laws of the state they work in. This was a clear call for the police to write the laws themselves, on the fly.
“They can fight about it after the RNC or they can lift it after the RNC, but I want him to absolutely outlaw open-carry in Cuyahoga County until this RNC is over,” he continued.
State law in Ohio allows legal firearm owners to carry their weapons in public. In fact, this is in the Ohio state constitution itself. There’s no getting around that, even by a proposed executive order.
More astonishingly, this shows how little even the higher ups in the Cleveland police understand the way the law actually works.
With the small exception of a so-called “secure zone” set up inside and around the Quicken Loans Arena, protesters are legally allowed to walk around the city – including within its 1.7 square mile regulated “event zone” – with any firearm that is legal in the state.
Kasich, for his part, responding to the request, saying: “Ohio governors do not have the power to arbitrarily suspend federal and state constitutional rights or state laws as suggested.”
“The bonds between our communities and police must be reset and rebuilt – as we’re doing in Ohio – so our communities and officers can both be safe. Everyone has an important role to play in that renewal,” he explained to the police.
Loomis stated that officers would begin “inspections and oversight” over anyone who is carrying a weapon entering the downtown area, where the Republican convention is scheduled to begin on Monday. But under Ohio law this is illegal too and has never been the case at any other Ohio open carry protest or rally in the recent history of the state.
So why now if not for the numerous African American protesters who have showed up to protest Donald Trump?
We saw several African American protesters who were part of a group of more than 200 who had been protesting on 9th street. We asked them what they thought about this call that came after they arrived on the streets of Cleveland.
“There’s no question that this was related to us,” one protester stated. He wished to remain nameless due to what he called “police threats” that had been made on social media towards them.
Loomis, for his part, said “we are going to be looking very, very hard at anyone who has an open carry,” he claimed. But with large groups of open carriers planning to assemble on the city, African American protesters claim they absolutely do not think anyone but armed black protesters will be scrutinized in this way.
That remains to be seen.
Loomis claims that anyone with “an AR-15, a shotgun, multiple handguns. It’s irresponsible of those folks – especially right now – to be coming downtown with open carry AR’s or anything else. I couldn’t care less if it’s legal or not. We are constitutional law enforcement, we love the Constitution, support it and defend it, but you can’t go into a crowded theater and scream fire. And that’s exactly what they’re doing by bringing those guns down there.”
If you don’t care if it’s legal, and you don’t care if it’s constitutional, why are you so worried all of a sudden?
Convention CEO Jeff Larson said that he did not expect Kasich to take any new action.
“The open carry laws in Ohio haven’t changed recently, it’s been in effect for quite some time, they’ve had a number of big events that have taken place with open carry without any issues,” he explaiend to reporters Sunday afternoon. “They’ve been planning their security around that issue.”
I guess “Open Carry” is just for white people in the eyes of the Cleveland police. Guess that answers that question.
No surprise since this is the city where Tamir Rice was shot, and the same state where John Crawford was gunned down!
(Article by M. David; reporting on the ground by Geno F.S. and others)