Minnesota Cops Promise a Kinder, Gentler RNC

So why are they stocking up on stun guns?

"I'm not going to characterize their approach as being too heavy-handed," Walsh says. "I'm just saying we're taking an approach that is different, and it is a little more open."

Spokesmen for the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg didn't return messages seeking comment on the performance of the city's cops in 2004. But from the NYPD's perspective, the 2004 RNC could be considered a success. Vitale says Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly prevented disruption of the convention and of everyday life in the city, while avoiding the kind of negative publicity that would have been generated by images being beamed around the world of New York cops beating up on protesters.

"They achieved those objectives," Vitale says. "The problem was, they did it by breaking the law. There should have been a fourth objective: guaranteeing lawful demonstrations."

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