I-TEAM: Protest group reacts to list of items banned from Presidential Debate event zone

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-TEAM has found, if you go anywhere near the presidential debate in Cleveland next week, you won’t be able to carry a lot of every day items you might have right now in your purse or car.

But, we’ve also found some citizens are also taking their own security measures with growing tension in the streets.

Thursday, the I-TEAM revealed a special security zone around the site of the debate. Now, take a closer look at what that means.

No guns or other weapons. No fireworks or explosives. Restrictions on pieces of wood, metal and plastic. Plus, restrictions on things like canned goods which can be thrown at officers.

And, many things you might have with you all the time are not allowed around the debate. Umbrellas with metal tips, aerosol cans, backpacks and other bags, plus more.

The security zone rules even ban wood supports for signs.

We spoke to Mark Harrington. He plans to protest with the group called “Created Equal.” He says his group will be heard despite the regulations.

“This isn’t unusual though it just seems a little bit too much,” said Harrington.

He added, “Some of the things are reasonable, you can imagine. Others are a bit much. But, I understand why they might be putting some of that in place. We expect to be able to comply with that.”

Meantime, the I-TEAM has learned some folks are not relying on the city’s security plan. Councilman Blaine Griffin says he has organized neighborhood watches.

And, we’ve learned, some business owners plan to stand guard in shops with guns just in case trouble breaks out.

Just blocks from the protest zone in a shopping center, looters cleaned out a store back in May after riots erupted in Cleveland. At that complex now, owners admit they’re a little nervous about what’s next.

“I pray that they, you know, will do their job, and that we’re gonna have a peaceful protest,” said Rod Catledge, who runs Esquire 79.

The City of Cleveland Board of Control this week approved an extensive list of prohibited items in the Presidential Debate event zone. The event zone is designated as East 79th Street to Stokes Boulevard and Hough to Cedar Avenue surrounding the Cleveland Clinic main campus. The newly passed regulations go into effect on Sept. 28 at 12:01 a.m. and end at 6 a.m. on Sept. 30, 2020.

The following items are prohibited in public spaces, such as streets and sidewalks:

  • Lumber larger than 2” in width and ¼” thick, including supports for signs;
  • Metal, plastic, or other hard material larger than ¾” thick and 1/8” in wall thickness including pipe and tubing;
  • Any air rifle, air pistol, paintball gun, blasting caps, switchblade or automatic knife, knife having a blade two and one-half (2-1/2) inches in length or longer, cestus, billy, blackjack, sword, saber, hatchet, axe, slingshot, BB gun, pellet gun, wrist shot, blackjack, metal knuckles, nun chucks, mace, iron buckle, axe handle, shovel, or other instrumentality used to cause property or personal damage;
  • Any dangerous ordinance, weapon, or firearm that is prohibited by the laws of the State of Ohio;
  • Any explosives, explosive device, or incendiary device;
  • Fireworks and rockets;
  • Sound Amplification Equipment;
  • Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems;
  • Containers of bodily fluids;
  • Aerosol cans;
  • Mace, Pepper Spray or other chemical irritant;
  • Umbrellas with metal tips;
  • Any projectile launchers, such as water guns and water cannons;
  • Rope, chain, cable, strapping, wire, string, line, tape, or any similar material, in greater than 6’ lengths;
  • Glass bottles, ornaments, light bulbs, ceramic vessels, and anything else frangible, regardless of whether the container holds any substance;
  • Locks including, without limitation, padlocks, bicycle locking devices, chain locks, or similar devices, but not including:  (i) an integral component of a conveyance or structure; (ii) locks when utilized by the owner of private real property to secure permanent or temporary fencing; or (iii) locks attached to a bicycle;
  • Tents and other shelters, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, mattresses, cots, hammocks, bivy sacks, or stoves;
  • Coolers or ice chests;
  • Backpacks and bags exceeding the size of 18” x 13” x 7”;
  • Lasers;
  • Non-plastic containers, bottles, cans, or thermoses;
  • Ladders;
  • Grappling hooks, sledgehammers, hammers, and crowbars;
  • Canned goods;

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