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Cleveland Extends Curfew To Tuesday Night, Expands Zone To W. 25th

Police officers in riot gear block the way to the Justice Center during Saturday's demonstrations. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
Police officers in riot gear block the way to the Justice Center during Saturday's demonstrations.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has extended the city’s downtown curfew until Tuesday at 8 p.m., expanding the curfew zone to include West 25th Street and the surrounding area.

The order prohibits people from loitering in or traveling through the city’s central business district or Market District. Exceptions include residents going home and employees going to work during normal business hours, according to the text of the order. The mayor’s order also urges residents to stay home and businesses to close.

The announcement set off a cascade of questions on social media, as residents and employees sought to clarify whether the order would stop their travel through downtown.

Jackson said he extended the order to prevent any more destruction of property, after weekend demonstrations spilled over into vandalism and arson Saturday.

“We will continue this curfew until such time that we believe that this episode that is going on not just in Cleveland but across this nation does not threaten the interests of this city or its people or its businesses,” the mayor said in a press conference call late Sunday night.

After local journalists reported being stopped from entering the curfew zone to report, Jackson clarified that the order would not prohibit media.

The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has rerouted several bus lines traveling through the area. 

Thousands gathered in downtown Cleveland Saturday afternoon to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Authorities there have charged now-fired police officer Derek Chauvin with third-degree murder after video showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck while he cried out for help.

Police in Cleveland arrested 66 people during Saturday’s protests, inclluding a juvenile, according to the city. Arrestees face charges including aggravated rioting, vandalism, disorderly conduct and curfew violations, according to the city.

In an email to ideastream early Sunday evening, Cuyahoga County Chief Public Defender Mark Stanton wrote that he had not yet received a full list of defendants from the demonstration arrests. A spokeswoman for Cuyahoga County said she was not certain how many remained in jail by Sunday.

It was not immediately clear when defendants would see a judge for the first time. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and Cleveland Municipal Court have canceled Monday events at the Justice Center, with the exception of jail arraignments, according to a news release.

Legal advocates spent Sunday trying to learn more about those arrested. Anthony Body, an organizer with the Bail Project, said he planned to call family of two arrestees “to see if they’ve heard anything.”

On Saturday, many demonstrators crowded around the Justice Center, often a site of protests over the treatment of jailed defendants. Some protesters pounded on windows or threw produce or water bottles, while others tried to stop them. Police fired tear gas canisters and used stun grenades to push crowds back from the building.

Police cars were set on fire, and groups of people smashed windows at and around the Justice Center. Groups also broke windows along Euclid Avenue and took merchandise from stores.

At Sunday’s news conference, Jackson and Police Chief Calvin Williams defended officers’ handling of the demonstrations. The mayor described police as “restrained” and said officers had not provoked tensions — something that demonstrators had charged in the wake of the protests.

Jackson said the city’s curfew order had curbed further vandalism in the area.

“What we’ve said today, even though we’re being criticized for it to some degree: You can’t come here to do that,” he said.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.