Four years ago, when the Republican National Convention was held in Minneapolis, more than 800 people were arrested. That same year, 154 arrests were made at the DNC in Denver. But so far this year’s conventions have been unexciting, at least in regards to civil unrest and police action.
According to various Tampa Bay sources, only a few arrests have been made this past week as the Republican National Convention took place. While some are crediting the threat of Hurricane Isaac, others are saying the police and protestors alike simply kept their cool.
Though hundreds of protestors showed up to chant slogans and show disdain or support for the RNC, there was little friction. USA Today reported that many protestors taunted police with donuts at the end of fishing poles, something that didn’t elicit anger, but laughter among cops and protestors alike.
Police Chief Jane Castor actually canceled several news conferences that had been set up ahead of time, anticipating there would be plenty of arrests and lots to talk about. With no news to report, however, there was nothing to say to the media.
The crowds were smaller than expected and it could have had a lot to do with former-hurricane Isaac off the coast earlier in the week. But Tampa saw little action from the storm, if nothing more than the crowd dispersal it caused.
Photos circulated before the RNC events were completed showed tactical officers outfitted from head to toe in Kevlar, padding, and other military-grade gear. They were ready for battle. But without angry or law-breaking protestors, their fancy (and frightening) getups will have to be put away for a later date.
Had there been the hundreds of arrests of years passed, the Tampa Bay police force was said to be prepared, ready to cuff and book as many people as needed to keep the peace. More than likely, those carted away would have been charged with disorderly conduct or similar offenses. Instead, however, cops and protestors stood looking at each other, neither one making a move to cause friction.
Some reports indicate that the areas allowed for protestors was so far removed from the actual convention that sufficient ire was not stirred in the protestors who couldn’t see the objects of their disdain or praise, but whatever the reason, the lack of arrests seems like a win-win for everyone.