Cernovich, a California lawyer and ruckus-starter who backs Republican presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump, quoted “anonymous sources” as saying police in Cleveland were taking a hands-off approach at the huge event amid expected protests.
“Although the radical left has days of protests planned and has a history of protests, the Cleveland police has issued a stand down order to officers, I can exclusively report,” Cernovich wrote.
The same day, he tweeted:
On his blog, Cernovich elaborated that this was akin to “when thugs from the left attacked Trump supporters at his San Jose rally,” referring to an accusation that the California city’s police failed to protect pro-Trump activists, for fear of their own safety, during a scrappy demonstration last month.
His message reverberated across social media, reaching, for example, the Nevada Tea Party:
But this was news to us, so we checked with our hometown source to learn if it was true: Cleveland police.
Department spokeswoman Jennifer Ciaccia was blunt in an email: “It is totally untrue.”
Steve Loomis, the head of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, said, “Wildly false report! No such order exists!”
As of 5 p.m. Monday, the first day of the convention, at least one image of a protester being arrested surfaced on Instagram. The protester, activist and journalist Kathy Wray Coleman, had just finished speaking when she was handcuffed by police, allegedly for an outstanding warrant from University Heights.
This doesn’t look like a police “stand-down” to us.
We heard from Cernovich just as we were publishing this fact-check. In an email, he suggested his story helped thwart the stand-down order from being enforced.
Cernovich claimed on his blog and Twitter, that Cleveland Police have issued ‘stand down’ order for the RNC.
Cleveland police vociferously proclaim this statement 100 percent false. The scene on the ground shows plenty of law enforcement doing their jobs.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire.
Email interview, Jennifer Ciaccia, Cleveland Police spokesperson, July 17, 2016
Email interview, Steve Loomis, Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association president, July 17, 2016
The Mercury News, “San Jose Police Chief defends officers accused of failing to protect Trump supporters from violence,” June 3, 2016
Cleveland.com, “Activist Kathy Wray Coleman arrested on outstanding warrant during RNC demonstration in Public Square,” July 18, 2016