CLEVELAND - Area civil rights activists are questioning the City of Cleveland's practices regarding security for the upcoming Republican National Convention.
According to a news release issued by the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, civil rights and justice advocates are concerned of potential procedural equipment and deployment of personnel during the Republican National Convention in July.
The advocates are pushing for the de-militarization of security practices, claiming the public deserves a say in the equipment purchased by the city with $50 million in federal security funding.
"Past conventions have employed inappropriate, often dangerous military-type equipment that were improperly deployed and which resulted in civil rights violations and injury to both bystanders and peaceful demonstrators," said Christine Link, executive director of the ACLU in a news release.
Advocates will hold a press conference on the steps of Cleveland City Hall Monday at 6:15 p.m. to assert their concerns.
Don Bryant a co-convener of the Greater Cleveland Civil and Human Rights Coalition says says he has a lot of unanswered questions. "The other concerns are what this equipment's going to be, and it may be intimidating to the public, and it could cause harm, and I think it's overkill," Bryant told WKYC Channel 3's Hilary Golston. "I think it's way too much."
On Friday, the mayor's office issued the following statement:
"The City of Cleveland is excited to host the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Working with our federal, state and local security as well as our business partners we look forward to a successful convention. We will not discuss operational security matters.As a community, however, we look forward to showcasing our great City and to providing a safe environment for all those who live, work, and are visiting our City."
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announced that Cleveland will receive $50 million in funding for security for the 2016 RNC.
The Omnibus Appropriations Bill will allocate the $50 million for convention security, as well as full funding for Cleveland's NASA Glenn Research Center.
In July, Sen. Sherrod Brown met with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson to also discuss security needs.
However, the specifics of how security would be deployed were not explained.