Cleveland Police Chief won't "accept violence" during RNC protests

Posted at 10:38 PM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 22:38:20-04

Cleveland Police said they have "robust intelligence" on protesters likely engage in violence during the Republican National Convention next month.

"We've got a real, real good idea who we think is coming here and what they're objectives are," said Cleveland  Deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba.

He said violent protesters present a challenge to law enforcement officers by hiding among members of more peaceful groups.

"They try to get the mob mentality going where they get into legitimate groups and disrupt them," said Tomba.

Tomba said the Cleveland Division of Police is working with the FBI and U.S. Secret Service, monitoring social media sites, and meeting with groups in advance in order to gather information about potentially dangerous protesters.

Tomba and Police Chief Calvin Williams described the department's strategy during a special Cleveland City Council Safety Committee meeting Wednesday.

Williams said anyone who commits a violent act will immediately be arrested.

"We will not accept any incidents of violence occurring in this city during the convention," he said.

During the meeting, Ron Rowe, the U.S. Secret Service's RNC coordinator, also gave details on security plans

He said he is not ready to release the exact location of the security perimeter surrounding Quicken Loans Arena, but said Prospect Ave. will remain open to pedestrians.

So far, more than 40 groups, including the controversial Westboro Baptist Church, have applied for permits to protest during the convention, according to records obtained by 5 On Your Side Investigators.