Will this July 4th be a preview of DNC security?
Posted on 4 Jul 2011 by Matthew Tyndall
After the Memorial Day weekend riot that occurred uptown after Speed Street every media outlet has been buzzing about that will translate to security during the Democratic National Convention next September.
When ~100,000 descend uptown today, CMPD and the City will be prepared to not repeat of what happened during Speed Street in May. With lookout towers and 100s of plain clothed and uniformed officers uptown, CMPD plans to keep the keep the crowd controlled. CMPD is zeroing in on two things, loitering and a curfew for minors. Yesterdays Observer article also focuses on those two issues.
Uptown business and restaurants will be closing early to discourage loitering and CMPD sound like they will have a zero-tolerence policy with loitering. They will also use the city curfew to curb the amount of youth uptown after 11. Youth violating the curfew can be arrested and their parents/guardians can be charged with a misdemeanor and a $100 fine.
While these measures on paper appear to be an appropriate amount of force appropriated for the crowd uptown, many may raise concerns on who may be targeted during the festivities tonight.
With the transit station in the crosshairs of CMPD, some may claim that minorities and the underprivileged will be the target of the increased enforcement. The same could be said for the public areas that a great deal of people congregate to to hang out instead of going to the clubs at Epicenter or on College St. These public areas to congregate will be under the watchful eye of CMPD and will not be an exception for the loitering policies that will be in place. So if you are uptown it sounds like you need to be a patron at a establishment uptown to be able to enjoy the firework show and festivities.
Is this how CMPD expects the city to be during the DNC when tens of thousands people descend downtown for the convention? Considering the incident that happened in May, it is expected that CMPD needs to prove that that was a fluke and is not something that will happen again. But will this plan prove to be an over zealous attempt to control people uptown, notably those not privileged enough to hang out in Suite all night?
Undoubtedly CMPD actions tonight will be an example of what to expect next year during the DNC and into the future now that the fabric of uptown has changed tremendously from the days of tumble weeds rolling around after 5pm.