Cleveland’s top cop says city is prepared for open-carry visitors

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CLEVELAND — As the mercury level rises, so does a sense of anticipation inside the city that will serve as host next week when the Republican National Convention comes to town.

Temperatures topped 90 in Cleveland on Wednesday, as more and more delegates began to arrive and GOP officials continued to attempt to hammer out an official party platform. Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump is apparently keeping a close eye on the ongoing meetings as he continues to weigh running mate options:

Meanwhile, law enforcement authorities in Cleveland continue to prepare for a projected influx of at least 50,000 outsiders — some who have publicly proclaimed they plan on arriving armed. Police Chief Calvin Williams on Wednesday told reporters at a press briefing that his department will respect the state’s open-carry laws, although when pressed he did say he’d prefer not to have to deal with open carry.

“We have tactics and policies in place that deal with that — I’m not going to get into specifics — but we’ve talked about a lot of that of course since Dallas, how we better that, how we make sure that the people coming enjoy the convention,” Williams said. “Obviously they’re going to be allowed to express all their constitutional rights but we’re also going to make sure people are safe.”

The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday that Williams recorded a personal message in which he offered his condolences to the city, which is reeling following the fatal shooting of five police officers last week.

City officials also announced that they’ve set aside a public park where demonstrators and others can camp out overnight. Kirtland Park, however, is located about three miles northeast of the neighborhood around Quicken Loans Arena, where the convention will be held.

In other areas of the city, signs of activism are slowly beginning to surface:

Various specialty businesses also appear to be looking to capitalize on the anticipated nature of the event:

Protesters have been told that they will be arrested if they unlawfully march on streets and disrupt traffic without the proper permits. According to local reports, the city has issued only four marching permits. Fox 8 Cleveland reports that the local Black Lives Matter chapters in Cleveland and in Cuyahoga County never applied for permits.

Kareem Henton told USA Today that “applying for the right to protest takes away from the spirit of the protest movement.”