More than 100 police agencies have backed out of an agreement to send officers to the Democratic National Convention following an order restricting the use of tear gas at the event.
The agencies will not be offering their services for the convention set to take place next month in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, following an order from the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission directing the police chief to restrict the use of tear gas and pepper spray, according to Fox News.
The original plan was to have at least 1,000 officers from outside agencies helping police the event, but Chief Alonso Morales has not said how many officers will be attending or specifically what agencies have backed out.
The news comes after it was reported Monday that police departments in four Wisconsin towns said they are no longer planning to send officers to the convention.
“We regret having to do that,” Fond du Lac Police Chief William Lamb said about the decision. “We respect the Fire and Police Commission’s decision. But in this particular case, we strongly disagree with the actions they’ve taken.”
“We believe [that] removing those tools, the use of chemical irritants or pepper spray, from the available resources that the law enforcement officers would have at their disposal if protests become nonpeaceful would severely compromise the safety of the public and also the safety of the law enforcement officers who would be assigned to protect the DNC.”
The directive issued last week restricting actions that police can take came in response to tear gas and other crowd control methods being used across the country, most notably in Portland and Washington in order to quell riots that have materialized out of the nationwide civil unrest following the death of George Floyd.
The topic of tear gas came up during a congressional hearing on Tuesday when Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal reprimanded Attorney General William Barr, saying she was about to lose her temper when he denied her characterization of crowd control methods that took place, including an allegation of tear gas being used, to combat rioters in Lafayette Park in the nation’s capital in early June.