ACLU Sues Cleveland Over Arrests of Protesters After Brelo Verdict
by Nick Castele
The city of Cleveland is facing a lawsuit over arrests of protesters after the acquittal of police officer Michael Brelo.
The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of several plaintiffs who were among the 70-some people arrested in downtown Cleveland during protests of the acquittal.
Brelo was found not guilty of manslaughter and other charges on a Saturday morning in May, leading to demonstrations during the day and arrests that night.
According to the suit, police cornered protesters in an alleyway in the Warehouse District and arrested them. The suit says police took many to a hangar at Burke Lakefront Airport for a couple hours, and then to jail for more than a day.
One plaintiff was released early, and the charges against him later dropped, after he was arrested while taking photos of the protest, the suit says. Three other plaintiffs were arrested while protesting and not released until the Monday after the verdict.
The suit calls the city's response "heavy-handed" and alleges the arrests infringed on plaintiffs' right to free speech and assembly, as well as other rights.
Attorneys for the city of Cleveland have not yet responded to the suit in court.