December 23rd, 2015

If Cleveland and the U. S. Justice department are truly interested in providing safety to Cleveland residents they had better look carefully at the use of the city’s police force. Where and who gets served.

It looks badly skewed to me. Toward the rich and their playthings. Naturally.

Records show Mayor Frank Jackson provided 34,173.5 hours of police service to our three sports teams.

Nearly 35,000 hours to date.

Police regular duty provides 26,385.5 hours to the Cleveland Indians, the Cavaliers and the Cleveland Browns.

In addition, the city provided 7,788 hours of overtime police protection to the three team owners, including non-game events at Quicken Arena.

Dan Gilbert, Larry Dolan and Jimmy Haslam—among our most wealthy—obviously rate more security than the city’s poorer neighborhoods where crime is growing and murders are not rare.

Those figures come via a request for the city’s statistics on use of police resources for sports events.

Never enough for our sports teams.

(When Gateway opened former Mayor Michael White and City Council made promises by legislation for a certain number of police officers for traffic and safety based on game attendance. So the deal for special attention came with all the other freebies provided sport team owners in a disgusting display of squandering city resources.)

Not only do and did we provide hundreds of millions of dollars for facilities to these billionaire owners and multi-million dollar players but it appears they get a huge amount of safety at the city’s tax expense. And we throw in free property taxes for their facilities.

That’s criminal, folks.

In my request for overtime for sporting events the city provided a breakdown of police force use for events in total hours expended by the Cleveland police force.

For the Cleveland Cavaliers the city reports 6,412 hours of regular safety service plus 1,124.5 hours of overtime. That’s a total of 7,536.5 hours of police protection for the Cavs and owner.

Would you call that special attention and protection? I would.

The Cleveland Browns received 2,095 regular hours of police protection and 3,303 hours of overtime protection for a total of 5,398 hours. How many games have they played?

The Cleveland Indians received 8,906 hours of regular police coverage and 2,233.5 police overtime hours for a total expenditure of 11,139.5 hours of police protection. Real low attendance.

In addition, the year-to-date hours revealed a “miscellaneous” use of police protection at 8,972.5 regular coverage and 1,127 hours of overtime for 10,099.5 additional hours of police coverage.

Quicken Arena, where Gilbert rakes in all the receipts for extra events, accounts for the entire “miscellaneous” category.

In total hours, the city provides 26,385.5 regular hours of police coverage and 7,788 hours of overtime for a total police protection of 34,173.5 hours of police coverage.

That’s a hell of a lot of protection.

You have to wonder if there are any police left for all city neighborhoods after sports events, arena gigs and the rest of downtown gets its city police protection. Downtown figures are not included.

Inequality isn’t just represented by all the earnings going to the top 1 percent but in the gifts of special services they automatically receive from our city politicians.

The business/civic/philanthropic/political leadership in town makes sure those with great needs go to the end of the line.

Don’t expect any change from politicians who bow to the powerful and the news media, which provides incredible amounts of free publicity. And no real critical coverage.

And expect next year to be much worse with the Republican National Convention in town.

We indeed are a sick society.

By Roldo Bartimole…

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