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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Federal Judge Overturns City's RNC Security Measures

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 3:54 PM

  • Judge James "Don't Call Me Tony!" Gwin
U.S. District Judge James "Don't Call Me Tony!" Gwin has overturned much of the city of Cleveland's security measures for the RNC.

Gwin sided with the ACLU in determining that the Convention's massive downtown security zone was way too large and that the assigned parade route was insufficient to allow protesters to express their free speech rights.

Gwin questioned and chastised the city for just about every element of its security plan in remarks Thursday. In addition to the burdensome size of the security zone, he said that the restrictions on demonstrations in city parks didn't make any sense, and that the restrictive hours for the parades — during times when delegates might not even be downtown — were insufficient for First Amendment purposes.

Given that the RNC is fast approaching, Gwin suggested that the city and the ACLU try to hash things out in a settlement. Cleveland.com's Eric Heisig reported that U.S. District Judge Dan Polster will be handing negotiations.

In a brief filed by the city earlier this week asking the judge to dismiss the case, lawyers argued that event zone was established after extensive planning with the Secret Service. The parade route, the brief said, was settled on after considering other alternatives and designated as the only route because the police couldn't handle more than one. 

"At its closest point," the city's brief said, "the Official Parade Route comes within approximately 160 feet of the Event Complex. The Official Parade Route is within view of the Event Complex and allows extensive media coverage due to its exposure along the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge."

But Judge Gwin said nah, noting that the crowds descending upon downtown for the RNC suddenly seem like small potatoes compared to the million-plus that occupied 20 square blocks for the Cavs parade Wednesday. Gwin made frequent allusion to the Cavs parade in his oral decision. 

From L.A. Times national reporter Matt Pearce: 

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