For all those eagerly anticipating a Hieronymus Bosch-meets-Duck Dynasty hellscape in the Cleveland streets, Monday in Trumpville was one long let-down. It looked like the much-anticipated Big Trouble had arrived at high noon, when 300 marchers in the first major anti-Trump demonstration were stomping their way toward the Quicken Loans Arena. As the protesters approached Public Square, the procession snagged as a sharp cry rang out through the “No Trump! No KKK! No racist USA!” chant. “Do not leave me people!” a woman was screaming. “Do not trust them!”
Kathy Wray Coleman, a Cleveland-area activist known for speaking out on violence against black women, was struggling between two patrolmen trying to wedge her into the back of a police van. “They have been harassing me!” Coleman screamed. “Do not leave me alone!” The marchers coiled around the van. Cleveland police sprung into action, weaving between the protesters and Coleman in a slow but forceful lockstep, ordering: “Back it up!” The marchers changed their chant: “Let her go! Let her go!” But most went back to marching.
It was a microcosm of the day: a succession of tense confrontations that seemed headed on a one-way track for a violent crescendo, only to be quickly put on ice. Even the backstory of Coleman’s arrest turned out to be less-than-scintillating: After she and her group, the Imperial Women’s Coalition, were scheduled to demonstrate, officers reportedly ran Coleman’s name as part of the permit process and found an outstanding warrant from a 2015 incident in which the activist allegedly tried to run down three police officers with her car. (“She will be in jail until arraigned,” Cleveland police spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia confirmed Monday night.)
Anti-climax. Who expected that from Donald Trump’s RNC? But lovers of chaos, fear not: There are three days left for mass insanity to break out.