RNC aftermath: Buckhorn credits "overwhelming force" for only two arrests

City leaders are basking in what's been mostly good reviews for how they hosted the RNC. However, there's been criticism regarding the extreme security measures, which chilled some protesters, and prevented others from walking through Downtown Tampa or frequenting local businesses.

NewsChannel 8 reporter Jeff Patterson asked Buckhorn if the jewelry store located on the same floor of the Tampa Police Department is eligible for financial redress since the owners were unable to welcome customers because of the security fencing.

Buckhorn said it could taken be into consideration, but indicated that it wasn't something he expected to happen.

"We knew the folks immediately close to the perimeter would be impacted," he said. "We told them not to set their expectations very high."

When asked if there was too much security near the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the Tampa Convention Center and downtown, the mayor said absolutely not, vowing to do it the same way if given the opportunity.

Invoking the Powell Doctrine named after former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Buckhorn said, "We deployed overwhelming force." He added that he'd rather have complaints about too much security, than have injuries or serious property damage — a statement that Host Committee CEO Ken Jones seconded in his press conference a few hours later.

When asked if he thought it was worth $50 million in taxpayer funds to secure the city, Buckhorn said city officials had to plan for the same number of protesters that have been in attendance at other major events in U.S. cities.

Jones said the biggest surprise of the week was the lack of protesters. But he bristled when reporters questioned him about the "overwhelming security," a term he employed.

He admitted that he had no idea that the fencing was scheduled to be installed at CAMLS, the new medical training facility.

There have already been reports about local restaurants and other companies complaining about the lack of business they received during the RNC.

Jones said businesses that did well included tent companies, event planners, limo companies, and caterers.

  • TPD Chief Jane Castor, Host Committee CEO Ken Jones, Mayor Bob Buckhorn & Chief of Staff Santiago Corrada

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Police Chief Jane Castor held a news conference Friday morning to discuss the just completed Republican National Convention. As far as the mayor was concerned, "We knocked it out of the park."

They crowed about the shocking statistic regarding the number of arrests — two.

"The key was the approach that the officers took in working with the demonstrators when possible to achieve whatever it was they were looking to accomplish," Castor told reporters at a packed press conference at City Hall. "The information that we had prior to the convention indicated that there were going to be very large numbers of demonstrators here, both in planned events and in unplanned and spontaneous events."

But the large numbers of protesters, for whatever reason, never showed up — certainly not to the extent that was mentioned in past news articles (last week CL questioned why everyone in the mainstream media was automatically citing the number of 15,000 protesters without attribution).

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