The city of Tampa's initial ordinance for heightened security at the upcoming Republican National Convention looked slightly different than its final version today.
The first draft made it illegal for any person visiting the convention to wear "any mask, hood or device whereby any portion of the face is hidden, concealed or covered." But in the final draft, the word "hood" is no longer there.
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Mauricio Rodriguez, assistant city attorney for Tampa, tells Whispers that the word was taken out because of the February death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen who was wearing a hoodie when he was shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla.
"With the recent incident out of Sanford, we reviewed the ordinance," says Rodriguez. "And we decided to remove 'hood' because we didn't want there to be confusion or conflict."
Hoodies, he says. will now be permitted on the convention grounds.
But the list of prohibited items remains fairly long. We've included a non-exhaustive list here to show just how serious Tampa is about preventing trouble, and how bizarre some of the prohibited items are. They include:
large-sized wood, metal or plastic; aerosol cans; an air rifle, air pistol, paintball rifle, explosive, blasting cap(s), switchblade, hatchet, ax, slingshot, BB gun, pellet gun, wrist shot, slung shot, blackjack, metal knuckles, nun chucks, mace, iron buckle, ax handle, chain, crowbar, hammer, shovel or any club or bludgeon; inflatable device filled with urine, fecal matter, blood or other bodily fluid; projectile launcher such as water guns, super soakers and water cannons; rope, chain, cable, strapping, wire, string, or line; glass bottles, glass ornaments, light bulbs, or ceramic vessels; padlocks, bicycle locking devices, chain locks; common umbrellas made primarily of fabric or soft vinyl without metal tips; gas masks or other breathing devices; camping gear; coolers and ice chests; fireworks; lasers; non-plastic containers, bottles, cans and thermoses; sticks, large poles; ladders, monopods, bipods, and tripods; masks and other face-covering devices.
The federal government has given $50 million to Tampa to ramp up security for the convention.
Rodriguez tells Whispers that with the strongly worded ordinance in place, he believes there won't be any violence on convention grounds.
"We've been meeting with individual protest groups so they know what's in the ordinance," he says, though acknowledging that at least one protest group refused to meet. "We're not worried at all."
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