New Yorker Talks to Cleveland Monitor Matthew Barge About Crowd Management

The New Yorker discussed crowd management and use of force in the context of the Republican National Convention with PARC's Vice President, and Cleveland Monitor, Matthew Barge:

Though the Cleveland Police Department has used a fifty-million-dollar federal grant to purchase additional equipment for the Convention, including two thousand sets of full riot gear and thirty-five hundred steel batons, in public it has projected circumspection about deploying the stuff. Deputy chief Ed Tomba told reporters in late May that at first, anyway, officers would be dressed in short sleeves and slacks. “Our posture is one of community policing and community engagement,” Tomba said, and added, “What you won’t see is any military-style equipment. And you won’t see officers in personal protective gear unless the situation dictates that they put on that gear.”

When I asked Matthew Barge, the court-appointed monitor for the consent decree in Cleveland, about those public pronouncements, he sounded hopeful. Still, he said, what mattered more than assurances to reporters was “what’s being said in roll calls, this weekend, next week, as officers are going out—that top-of-the-mind kind of message for the folks who are doing the hard work out there on the street. Because unless that message—that we want to give people demonstrating as much latitude to express themselves as we can—unless that’s being driven home in a really straightforward way now, then a notebook full of policy can go by the wayside pretty quickly in the heat of a chaotic moment.”

Read the full article here.