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Cleveland isn't taking a cavalier attitude toward its responsibilities as host of the 2016 Republican National Convention, despite the circus-like atmosphere that has emerged during the primary season.
The city is looking for insurance protection in case a war of words between Republican frontrunner Donald Trump's supporters and protesters spills out into a street fight with police.
Cleveland will spend $1.5 million to hire Aon P.L.C. to broker a law enforcement professional liability policy that covers potential lawsuits related to police conduct for the July convention — the costs of which will be paid for by a federal grant, according to Cleveland.com.
The city will host more than 50,000 visitors during the 4-day convention, which will take place primarily at Quicken Loans Arena, more commonly known as “The Q,” home of the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team.
After Mr. Trump drummed persistent challenger Ted Cruz out the race with Tuesday’s Indiana primary win and sent stubborn also-ran John Kasich packing, the threat remains of disruptive and potentially violent protests, as have materialized at Trump campaign events.
It wouldn't be the first time police have clashed with protesters during a presidential nominating convention. Anti-Vietnam War protests erupted during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, with a major law enforcement response that resulted in hundreds of injuries and arrests.
Cleveland appears to have learned a valuable lesson from previous convention hosts about the costs of police action and the value of insurance to cover the risk. The New York Police Department arrested 1,800 protesters during the 2004 Republican National Convention and the city wound up on the hook for $18 million in damages related to alleged civil rights violations.
St. Paul, Minnesota purchased a $1.1 million policy from American International Group Inc. to cover law enforcement actions against protesters during the 2008 Republican National Convention, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Only $175,000 in settlements have been reported.
But maybe everyone will be in a good mood if King James brings Cleveland that elusive basketball championship next month.
It's a dirty deed done dirt cheap.