Cleveland is likely to see plenty of clashes between protesters and police during the Republican National Convention later this month. The local court seems to think so too, and will be extending its hours to a nearly around-the-clock schedule in order to process the hordes of people who will surely be coming through.
During the convention, which runs from July 18-21, the Cleveland Municipal Court will be open from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m., Cleveland.com reports. They anticipate processing up to 1,000 people per day, up from 200 or so on a normal day. The court also plans to keep its dockets clear, to avoid “logistical challenges” posed by the event.
Even if the presumptive nominee weren’t a racist demagogue tearing the Republican Party limb from limb with his provocations, the ramp-up would probably still be warranted. Look at what happened in New York during the 2004 RNC, when the NYPD locked up about 1,800 people for the weekend.
Nearly all of those arrestees were locked up simply for exercising their right to peaceful protest, and the city ended up paying $18 million in a settlement to a lawsuit by civil rights groups who alleged the arrests were unlawful. Sadly, that will probably be the case in Cleveland also.
But the extended court hours do come with an upside. If you can’t stop the police from cuffing protesters—and you can’t—it’s better to have the courts open for business than not, so that people may be processed quickly and released on bail, rather than locked up for the entire weekend while judges and prosecutors play catch-up, as happened in NYC in 2004 and in Baltimore last year, during the protests over the police killing of Freddie Gray.