Still planning to protest during the Democratic National Convention? Leave your guns and tennis balls at home.

In case you missed it, the 2020 DNC is still taking place in Milwaukee. Sort of. Once expected to draw more than 50,000 people to the city, the now largely virtual event—scheduled for August 17-20—is expected to feature a whopping 300 in-person attendees. Joe Biden will be here (maybe), but that’s about it.

But that doesn’t mean discussions about DNC security, DNC protests, and DNC end-of-the-world mayhem have stopped. On Friday morning, the Public Works Committee approved a substitute ordinance that identifies items that will be prohibited in the convention’s security footprint—a.k.a. the so-called “soft zone.” That zone is bordered by West Cherry Street on the north, North Water Street on the east, West Clybourn Street on the south, and North 10th Street on the west. The zone remains consistent with the one announced earlier this year, even though the main location of the DNC has been moved from Fiserv Forum to smaller venues like the Wisconsin Center and the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. (The location of the security footprint’s so-called “hard zone” is the discretion of the Secret Service, and has not yet been released.)

The list of prohibited items in the “soft zone” includes obvious things like firearms and sledgehammers, but it also includes items like tennis balls, attached bike locks, and, um, “any containers of bodily fluid.” An amendment put forth by Ald. Nik Kovac at Friday’s meeting struck gas masks from the list. Language concerning already-illegal knives and switchblades was also removed.

Here’s the full list of prohibited items. (Even though the convention itself will take place August 17-20, the duration of the security zones will be from August 15-22.)

• Lumber larger than 2 inches in width and 0.25 inches thick, including supports for signs.

• Metal, plastic, or other hard material larger than 0.75 inches thick and 0.0125 inches in wall thickness, including pipe and tubing.

• Any air rifle, air pistol, paintball gun, blasting cap, cestus or other combat glove, billy club, blackjack, sword, saber, hatchet, axe, slingshot, BB gun, pellet gun, wrist shot or wrist rocket, metal knuckles, nunchucks, iron buckle, axe handle, shovel, or other instrument potentially used to cause damage to persons or property.

• Any dangerous ordnance, weapon, or firearm that is prohibited by the laws of the state of Wisconsin under ss. 941.26, 941.28 and 941.298, Wis. Stats.

• Any explosive, explosive device or incendiary device.

• Any firework or rocket.

• Any drones or other unmanned aircraft system or device.

• Any containers of bodily fluid.

• Any aerosol can.

• Mace, pepper spray, OC spray or other chemical irritant.

• Any umbrella with a metal tip.

• Any projectile launcher, such as a slingshot, wrist rockets, water gun or water cannon.

• Any rope, chain, cable, strapping, wire, string, line, tape or similar material, in a length greater than 6 inches.

• Any glass bottle, ornament, light bulb, ceramic vessel or other frangible or brittle container, regardless of whether the container holds any substance.

• Any lock, including, without limitation, any padlock, bicycle locking device, chain lock or similar device, but not including:

• Any integral component of a conveyance or structure.

• Any lock when utilized by the owner of private real property to secure temporary or permanent fencing.

• Any lock attached to a bicycle.

• Any tent or other shelter, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, mattress, cot, hammock, bivy sack or stove.

• Any cooler or ice chest.

• Any backpack or bag exceeding the dimensions of 18 inches by 13 inches by 7 inches.

• Any laser.

• Any non-plastic container, bottle, can or thermos.

• Any ladder.

• Any grappling hook, sledgehammer, hammer, crowbar or prybars.

• Canned goods.

• Tennis balls.

• Any other item determined by the chief to be a clear and present danger to the safety of others.

So will the largely virtual DNC still attract physical protests? Ald. Bob Bauman seemed to think so at Friday’s meeting, suggesting that as many as 10,000 protesters could flood the city during the glorified Zoom meeting. Members of the Public Works Committee also discussed the who-knows-what-will-happen scenario of President Trump sending federal troops to the city in the upcoming weeks. Also, an additional 1,100 police officers from the state (and beyond) are expected to show up.

Here’s the full ordinance approved at Friday’s meeting:

Title

A substitute ordinance relating to the regulation of extraordinary events.

Sections

Analysis

This ordinance amends Common Council File Number 200310, the ordinance establishing regulations and permit-issuance procedures for the use of city streets and public property during the extraordinary event of the 2020 Democratic National Convention scheduled to take place in Milwaukee in August, 2020. The amendments include:

1. An enumeration of items that are prohibited within the security footprint during the convention period.

2. Prohibitions on obstruction of public right-of-way, abandonment of certain items, and camping within the security footprint during the convention period.

Body

Whereas, On July 7, 2020, the Common Council passed File Number 200310, an ordinance relating to the extraordinary event of the Democratic National Convention; and

Whereas, The Common Council finds that, in order to protect the public health, safety and general welfare during this extraordinary event, it is necessary to prohibit the possession of certain items, the obstruction of public right-of-way, the abandonment of certain items, and camping within the security footprint during the convention period; now, therefore

The Mayor and Common Council of the City of Milwaukee do ordain as follows:

Part 1. Section 1 of File Number 200310 is amended by adding the following:

u. “Public access areas” means any spaces in the security footprint that are open to access by the general public, including streets, sidewalks and public grounds.

Part 2. File Number 200310 is amended by adding the following sections:

13. Prohibition of Possession of Certain Items in the Security Footprint during the Convention Period. a. Within all public access areas, the following items are prohibited during the convention period:

a-1. Lumber larger than 2 inches in width and 0.25 inches thick, including supports for signs.

a-2. Metal, plastic, or other hard material larger than 0.75 inches thick and 0.0125 inches in wall thickness, including pipe and tubing.

a-3. Any air rifle, air pistol, paintball gun, blasting cap, cestus or other combat glove, billy club, blackjack, sword, saber, hatchet, axe, slingshot, BB gun, pellet gun, wrist shot or wrist rocket, metal knuckles, nunchucks, iron buckle, axe handle, shovel, or other instrument potentially used to cause damage to persons or property.

a-4. Any dangerous ordnance, weapon, or firearm that is prohibited by the laws of the state of Wisconsin under ss. 941.26, 941.28 and 941.298, Wis. Stats.

a-5. Any explosive, explosive device or incendiary device.

a-6. Any firework or rocket.

a-7. Any drones or other unmanned aircraft system or device.

a-8. Any containers of bodily fluid.

a-9. Any aerosol can.

a-10. Mace, pepper spray, OC spray or other chemical irritant.

a-11. Any umbrella with a metal tip.

a-12. Any projectile launcher, such as a slingshot, wrist rockets, water gun or water cannon.

a-13. Any rope, chain, cable, strapping, wire, string, line, tape or similar material, in a length greater than 6 inches.

a-14. Any glass bottle, ornament, light bulb, ceramic vessel or other frangible or brittle container, regardless of whether the container holds any substance.

a-15. Any lock, including, without limitation, any padlock, bicycle locking device, chain lock or similar device, but not including:

a-15-a. Any integral component of a conveyance or structure.

a-15-b. Any lock when utilized by the owner of private real property to secure temporary or permanent fencing.

a-15-c. Any lock attached to a bicycle.

a-17. Any tent or other shelter, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, mattress, cot, hammock, bivy sack or stove.

a-18. Any cooler or ice chest.

a-19. Any backpack or bag exceeding the dimensions of 18 inches by 13 inches by 7 inches.

a-20. Any laser.

a-21. Any non-plastic container, bottle, can or thermos.

a-22. Any ladder.

a-23. Any grappling hook, sledgehammer, hammer, crowbar or prybars.

a-24. Canned goods.

a-25. Tennis balls.

a-26. Any other item determined by the chief to be a clear and present danger to the safety of others.

b. The prohibitions of par. a shall not be applicable to:

b-1. Any person possessing an item listed in par. a when both of the following are true:

b-1-a. The person or the person’s employer maintains a place of employment within the security footprint.

b-1-b. The possession of the item is in the normal course of the person’s licensed business or employment and to be used within that business or place of employment.

b-2. Any person possessing an item listed in par. a when both of the following are true:

b-2-a. The person resides within the security footprint.

b-2-b. The item is kept and used within the person’s residence.

b-3. Any law enforcement personnel or other local, state or federal government employee possessing a prohibited item in the course of that person’s authorized duties.

b-4. Any licensed medical professional in the performance of that professional’s medical duties.

14. Possession of Obstruction Devices; Abandoning Objects and Camping in the Security Footprint Prohibited. a. It is unlawful for any person within the security footprint, with the intent to obstruct the public’s ability to freely move about on rights-of-way, sidewalks or other areas to which the public has access, to possess or place any tool, object, instrument, or any combination thereof, that is adapted, designed, or intended to be used for obstructing the public’s ability to freely move about on rights-of-way, sidewalks or other areas to which the public has access. This shall include, but is not limited to, the maneuver commonly referred to as the “Sleeping Dragon,” tripods, bipods, poles, any sections of pipe or containers filled with or wrapped in weighted material, such as concrete, or containing handcuffs, chains, carabiners, padlocks, road stars, or other locking devices.

b. It is unlawful for any person, other than law enforcement, or an individual properly authorized and credentialed by law enforcement, to inhibit, for any reason, the movement of other persons on streets, rights-of-way or sidewalks.

c. It is unlawful for any person to place any instrument, tripod, bipod, or other pole or object with the intent to obstruct the public’s ability to freely move about on rights-of-way, sidewalks, entrances and exits to private property, or any other areas to which the public has access.

d. It is unlawful for any person to attach themselves to another person, building, vehicle, or fixture with the intent to obstruct the public’s ability to freely move about on rights-of-way, sidewalks, entrances and exits to private property, or any other areas to which the public has access.

e. It is unlawful for any person to abandon or place any container or object on the rights-of-way, sidewalks, entrances and exits to private property, or any other areas to which the public has access, and remove themselves from immediate proximity of the container or object. Any container or object so abandoned or placed shall be subject to immediate search, removal or disposal.

f. It is unlawful to camp in the security footprint during the convention period.

g. Any government employees performing the employee’s official duties shall be exempt from this section.

About The Author

Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.

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