We’ve been wondering all week whether there would be unrest outside the convention hall in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention (RNC). The week got started with no major incidents and all protests largely peaceful.
Yesterday, we saw the first sign of turbulence when 17 people were arrested after a flag burning and a subsequent scuffle. We’ve heard that some police officers were punched during the incident.
A group of Michigan State Police (MSP) officers are in Cleveland this week to help out with security. MSP Inspector Jim Shaw joins Detroit Today to talk about the assignment and the atmosphere outside the RNC.
“We were greeted by the citizens of Cleveland with just open arms,” says Shaw, who says MSP troopers were not in the area of the flag burning incident and none were involved in the incident.
Before the convention, the head of Cleveland’s largest police union called on Gov. John Kasich (R) to suspend statewide open carry laws in the city during the convention to protect officers and citizens. Shaw says MSP troopers are well-equipped to deal with large numbers of people openly carrying firearms.
“Michigan is an open carry state, so our troopers have dealt with those situations before,” he says. ”We respect their right for open carry. And I think it’s just good observation skills on our troopers. Those that are choosing to open carry, that’s fine. But if there’s an individual that would commit a crime then that’s when our troopers would take appropriate action… We watch for their actions and body language and things that we would normally do on patrol back in the state of Michigan.”
To hear the full conversation, click on the audio player above.