71 Arrested Saturday Night During Demonstrations and Protests

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson speaks with Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams. (Photo by Sarah Jane Tribble)
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Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Police Chief Calvin Williams expressed relief during a Sunday morning press conference.

Protestors and demonstrators were largely responsible, Jackson said.

"They served as an example of peaceful demonstration and dialogue that will help us to move forward to a positive and substantive reform and forge better relationships between the police division and the community," Jackson said.

City leaders and officials were prepared for possible riots as tensions between residents and police have ramped up in recent weeks. On Saturday morning, Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell found Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo not guilty on two charges of voluntary manslaughter in connection with a November 2012 police chase and shooting. 

While remaining largely peaceful, the demonstrators and protests became increasingly intense as the evening progressed.

The largest demonstrations moved across downtown Cleveland and the city’s west side.  Chief Williams acknowledged arrests and assaults on bystanders as the day wore on, including demonstrations that temporarily blocked a portion of the Shoreway, and culminating with more aggressive actions by protestors around Euclid Avenue at the East 4th street eateries.

According to Williams, the most significant interaction between police and protestors took place late in Saturday evening on West 6th Street and Johnson court.  Demonstrators had been ordered to disperse and in the ensuing encounter police made many arrests. 

Over the course of Saturday evening 71 people, including an undisclosed number of juveniles were arrested. Charges ranged from felonious assault, aggravated rioting, and unlawful congregation - amongst others.

"We only moved in to make arrests when things got violent and protestorsd refused to disperse," Williams said. "But if things turned violent as we stated in the beginning, we will take action."

With the Cavaliers set to take the court at 8:30 this evening, Williams and Jackson said that police and venue security forces would be prepare and they wouldn’t tolerate actions “that go over the line.”

Mayor Jackson encouraged residents and visitors to come into downtown Cleveland Sunday and enjoy themselves. Officers tonight will not being riot gear unless necessary, Williams said.

The police will be "escorting protestors throughout the city," Williams said.

"There's a dividing line between a public right of way and public sidewalk and the public streets and what you can do, versus being on private property and breaking the law," Williams said. "And the various venues and sports arenas downtown understand that... we won't tolerate people being violent at any time."

Story and audio by Mark Simpson and Sarah Jane Tribble.

 

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