‘Cleveland shined’: City officials thank demonstrators, safety forces for safe protests, presidential debate

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — Cleveland officials Wednesday thanked residents, demonstrators and safety forces for their cooperation and assistance in pulling off a safe presidential debate in the city Tuesday.

“Cleveland served as a model yesterday,” said Cleveland Safety Director Karrie Howard. “With all eyes being on us, Cleveland shined.”

The candidates faced off for the first time Tuesday night at the Samson Pavilion at the Health Education Campus for Case Western Reserve University at the Cleveland Clinic.

While the debate inside the venue was chaotic, officials said demonstrations outside were “done in a very peaceful and respectable manner.”

Howard said organizers for future debate locations were present to monitor how Cleveland handled the event in preparation for debates that will take place in their cities.

Chief Calvin Williams said about 760 officers were dedicated to provide security at the event.

There were a little under 1,000 people demonstrating both in University Circle, at the debate location and in downtown Cleveland, said Williams.

“We’d like to thank those folks…who kept things calm, who exercised their constitutional rights in the appropriate manner,” said Williams.

There were four arrests, he said, and police are in the process of investigating and charging the suspects.

One male was arrested for driving under suspension after driving a vehicle into the debate zone. Another man was arrested for failure to comply near the immediate perimeter of the debate area, and a man was arrested for trespassing in the debate zone. Finally, a female was arrested for petty theft and disruption of public services after reportedly trying to take police force equipment.

There was also an incident where a Shaker Heights police officer working security reportedly made an obscene gesture toward protesters. Williams said he was relieved of his duties for the rest of the evening after the incident.

Williams said the cost to the city for the debate is somewhere between $450,000 and $500,000. Most of that cost will be reimbursed to the city by the Cleveland Clinic.

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