Following the acquittal of a Cleveland police officer in the killing of an unarmed couple, Largely peaceful demonstrations have been continuing. As the demonstrations grew, some groups of people have been turning more rowdy, and police say there have been multiple arrests.
A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said it was not clear how many of the arrests were directly related to the protests and how many were “being a nuisance.”
“We are trying to sort that out.” said Dan Williams, a spokesman for Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.
Michael Brelo was acquitted of voluntary manslaughter and a lesser charge of felonious assault in the shooting deaths of Timothy Russel and Malissa Williams. He was visibly emotional as Cuyahoga County Judge John O’Donnell read a portion of his verdict in open court.
Cop Found Not Guilty in Unarmed Couple’s Shooting Deaths
Prosecutors said Brelo, 31, was one of 13 officers who fired 137 times into the couple’s car in the November 2012 shooting. The 22-mile, high-speed chase through Cleveland began when an officer tried pulling over Russel for a turn signal violation. His car backfired while speeding away, causing officers to think someone in the car had fired a gun.
Among those arrested was a man charged with assault after he allegedly injured a patron at Harry Buffalo’s on East Fourth Street when he threw an object through the window, police said. After a day in which peaceful demonstrators carried signs and chanted after they handed down a not guilty verdict, police reported that some protesters were turning “disruptive.”
Protests began immediately after the verdict, when demonstrators outside the courthouse chanting “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” — a rallying cry linked to the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Sheriff’s deputies stood outside the courthouse carrying shields, blocking the demonstrators from entering.
In a demonstration that had already been panned to mark six months since the killing of Tamir Rice, a black 12-year-old carrying a pellet gun who was shot by a white rookie officer, about 200 people walked in a mock funeral procession. They carried a black, plywood coffin and softly sand “I’m going up yonder, we’re marching we’re marching.”
Protesters also carried signs making reference to another pair of deadly encounters with police: the chokehold death of Eric Garner in NYC and the death of Freddie Gray, a Baltimore man who suffered a spinal injury while in custody.
Protests continued into the evening, when a crowd temporarily blocked downtown street of intersections and chanted anti-police slogans. Demonstrators also marched as sports fans getting out of a Cleveland Indians-Cincinnati Reds game, adding to congestion.