Former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, whose experiences are chronicled in his book Vigilance: My Life Serving America and Protecting Its Empire City and a new six-part series on SiriusXM channel 124, talked about the security challenges of the upcoming Republican National Convention on Friday’s Breitbart News Daily.
SiriusXM host Stephen K. Bannon mentioned that Breitbart News would be sending a 35-person team to the convention, including five security personnel. “My colleague last night, he’s been on these al Qaeda sites, he says we’re going to the most dangerous place on Earth, this week is Cleveland, Ohio,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s the most dangerous place on Earth,” Kelly replied, with cautious optimism. “I think they’ve done a lot. You know, the proof is in the pudding. Everybody has a plan, until you get punched in the face, as Mike Tyson said. When something happens, how well will the authorities respond?”
“You have to be flexible,” he advised. “You have to be ready to handle multiple events. There’s no question about it, that groups are going there to cause trouble.”
“We had the 2004 Republican convention, we had 800,000 demonstrators in New York City, and some of them were clearly bent on causing mayhem,” Kelly said. “Those types of people, some of the same people, will be in Cleveland, starting on Sunday — there will be demonstrations on Sunday. We’re going to see just how well-prepared the authorities are.”
Kelly said one of his major concerns would be “the majority of police, policing this event in the outer perimeter, are from outside of Cleveland.”
“There’s only about 500 Cleveland police officers dedicated to the convention, and there’s about 2,500 officers from other departments. That’s difficult to coordinate. It just is,” he said. “There’s different cultures, a different command structure. Supposedly they’ve trained to overcome that. We know that certain departments, for instance Greensboro, North Carolina, committed to going, but then they pulled out, because they said they weren’t prepared. Now, that was about a month and a half ago, two months ago. Perhaps they’ve gotten better prepared since that time.”
However, he said “you can only do so much,” because unpredictable challenges like “pop-up demonstrations” cannot be adequately planned for in advance.
“Certain groups will be asking for permits, but the police are pretty much given the signal that even if you don’t have a permit, if you have a demonstration, we’re pretty much going to leave you alone, if there’s no violence attendant to it,” he explained.
“There’ll be, obviously, pro- and anti-Trump demonstrations, and they’ll be pretty big numbers on both sides,” Kelly predicted. “So the police and the authorities have their hands full. This is a national special security event, which is, in essence, controlled or coordinated by the Secret Service. They take care of the inner perimeter. Quicken Loans Arena, which is where the convention is taking place, I think will be pretty secure. There may be some disturbancers in there, but that’s just kind of the normal stuff that happens at a convention.”
“The real concern is that outer perimeter, and other parts of the city — the hotels where the delegates stay, the restaurants where they go. All of those can be targets for demonstrators, some with evil intent, possibly,” Kelly said. “It’s going to be an interesting, actually two weeks, because the Democratic convention follows the week after.”
Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot channel 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.