North Canton Asked,
But is Not Sending Any of its Police
But Individual Deputies Are
But Individual Deputies Are
Originally Published on Wednesday
(new material in gold)
Rejected or the Rejector: that is the question?
For some time now, the SCPR has been question Canton law enforcement officials as to whether or not the Canton (Stark County) Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT) would be providing security services at the upcoming Republican National Convention at Cleveland for the period July 18th through 21st, which, of course, is Monday of next week.
The local posture has been that everything will have to Stark County's SWAT advantage for officials to agree to send members to Cleveland.
The answer is now in, Stark's SWAT operation will NOT have a presence in Cleveland.
And so local Republican officials such as Republican Stark County Commissioner Janet Creighton will not have the comfort of knowing that her hometown police are nearby as she and upwards of a couple thousand convention delegates assemble in Ohio's lakeside city.
The SCPR also has learned from North Canton mayor David Held that he has been approached by Cleveland police officials to provide "mutual aid" assistance but that North Canton has declined. As things stand now, he queried, "what are the chances that Cleveland would ever be in a position to offer reciprocal mutual aid.
He did add however that should an emergency develop at the convention no doubt under the long standing tradition of safety forces "mutual aid" would kick in and North Canton along with safety forces across Ohio would jump into help out.
STARK COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
BACK TO SWAT
There is a report in today's online Plain Dealer that only Cleveland policemen will be authorized to make arrests for convention related infractions of law should the need arise.
The reason for the Stark County SWAT not going to Cleveland is not clear.
The actual answer lies somewhere in between of whom you believe as between Canton law enforcement officials and Cleveland police officials.
A recent WKYC report: (LINK) Investigator: Hidden recordings suggest a police cover up, May 18, 2016 (Tom Meyer) marked the first of an ongoing series on matters Stark County SWAT by the Cleveland based television station.
The alleged cover up pertains to operations of Stark's SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics unit [LINK] standoff with one Shane Ryan at Great Clips in Massillon on July 28, 2012 which resulted in Ryan's death at the hand of a SWAT officer. (LINK)
Though written transcripts of the shooting do not identify the shooting officer, the WKYC report identifies the shooter as being Sgt. Charles Saler, a 26 year veteran of the SWAT team.
And it could be that Cleveland police officials letting local chief Bruce Lawver know that in view of Saler being a defendant in a civil lawsuit on the Great Clips shooting is the real reason that Stark County SWAT will not be in Cleveland.
Canton officials have told the SCPR that there was no way the city would agree to send its SWAT unit to Cleveland without Saler—or any other member who has been a defendant in litigation, present or past, with respect to killings that have taken place by Stark County SWAT—being a part of any such contingent.
What's more, local officials say that they think there is a high probability that there will be violence in Cleveland and that they do not want Stark County based law enforcement officials to be anywhere near having local policemen having a role in quelling expected violence.
In today's Cleveland Plain Dealer (online version), this headline:
See "subsequent to original article" disclaimer by chairman at this LINK.
There is no doubt. Tensions are extremely high between the African American community and police departments across America. Reports like the Plain Dealer report above is cause for pause as to whether or not it is a good idea to have a Stark County police presence in Cleveland beginning on Monday.
And, of course, there are going to be a lot of "Never Trump folks" at the RNC.
Will their deeply felt passions get the best of them?
If so, is that the material of which might prompt coercive police action and perhaps per chance involving a Stark County contingent should it have a presence at the convention?
That pretty much is the Canton police officialdom perspective of why Stark County SWAT will not be going to Cleveland next week.
The Report must say that getting to the heart of the matter with Stark County policing officials (including Safety Director Andrea Perry) was "like pulling teeth." According to a WKYC anchor, Perry promised to get back to the station with reasons why Canton's regional SWAT is not going to the convention, but never delivered on her promise.
Sifting through bits and pieces of responses to SCPR questions, it appears—taking for granted Canton's version that not having a presence at the RNC was its call—that the decider-in-chief was Canton police chief Bruce Lawver.
What is Canton police officialdom's problem in providing candid answers to the Stark County public on seemingly benign matters like the whys and wherefores of participating/not participating in RNC security?
Their reluctance only fuels the fires of speculation of them perhaps hiding something that they think does not reflect well on Stark County-based policing operations.
Mayor Thomas M. Bernabei needs to take the lead in insisting that short of protecting internal security matters that Perry be forthcoming on justifications of this or that policy, practice and/or operations of the Stark County SWAT and any other matters that fall under her supervision.
Cleveland officials and at least one local attorney and civic activist (Craig T. Conley) see Stark County SWAT's exclusion differently than local officials.
Last evening, WKYC continued its ongoing series on Stark County SWAT in providing "a differing with Stark County policing officials" as to whom rejected whom and the reason for the rejection.
Before proceeding with reading this blog, readers owe it to themselves to go to this LINK and take in the one minute and 53 second WKYC report of last evening.
It starts of with the on air anchor saying:
- that according to WKYC investigator Tom Meyer that Stark County SWAT and its commander Charles Saler has been told not to come to Cleveland
- in a six year span, Canton SWAT commander shot and killed three suspects,
- Saler volunteered to help with security at next week's RNC in attending himself and taking with him most of the 36 members of the Stark County-based SWAT,
- the reason could be, Meyer says, because of Saler's history of excessive force complaints,
Conley has written Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine and the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) asking that Stark County's SWAT be investigated (specifically Saler) on the issue of whether or not SWAT killings at his hand were legally justified or not.
DeWine gave the lame excuse that "unless invited in by local officials," his department of Ohio government has no authority to intervene.
The Report has to believe that if DeWine wants in, he will get that "invitation" or find some other avenue to enter an appearance (re: Steubenville football player matter).
At last report, Conley says he has not heard from the DOJ.
So there you have it folks, the Stark County-based SWAT at the center of yet another controversy.
But for The Stark County Political Report, Stark Countians would have no clue as to all of the foregoing.
Interesting, no? that Stark County's only countywide newspaper—The Repository—has not looked into the WKYC allegations!