Cleveland Protest Turns Into March, With Police Escort
About 150 protesters gathered outside the First District police station in the West Park neighborhood of Cleveland Tuesday afternoon to speak out against the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and excessive force by police across the country.
Initially the protesters were separated from the station in a convenience store parking lot, with metal barriers keeping them away from the building. Several uniformed officers and men in plainclothes were on the roof watching and filming the protest. A few National Guard soldiers were observing outside the station.
The most tension at Tuesday's protest was over the role of the men on the roof watching. [Matthew Richmond / ideastream]
The protesters were calling for officers to come out, growing more agitated as the officers kept their distance. Eventually, Third District Commander Daniel Fay spoke to the crowd. Fay was joined by Deputy Chief of Police Wayne Drummond. Both expressed some sympathy for the protesters' cause, but said police procedures made it impossible for all the officers to join the demonstration.
Deputy Chief of Police Wayne Drummond speaking to protesters outside the First District. [Matthew Richmond / ideastream]
While Downtown Cleveland and Ohio City’s main commercial district remain under curfew and the road in front of the police station was closed, demonstrators weren’t prevented from gathering. From the First District station, marchers started a procession north on 130th Street to Lorain Avenue, then turned east on Lorain Avenue toward Downtown, chanting “I can’t breathe” and “Hands up, don’t shoot.”
The whole way, a line of Cleveland police officers on bicycles escorted them, and officers on motorcycle closed down intersections as the group slowly passed.
Cleveland Police officers escorting marchers along Lorain Avenue. [Matthew Richmond / ideastream]
After the marchers sat in traffic at the corner of Lorain Avenue and West 117th Street, the officers on bicycles agreed to kneel in the intersection with them - a break in the tension and a moment of friendliness.
Following repeated calls for officers to join the protesters, a line of bike patrol officers joined them kneeling at the corner of West 117th and Lorain. [Matthew Richmond / ideastream]
The marchers continued down Lorain Avenue to West Boulevard before turning around and heading back the way they came, accompanied the whole way by police.
There were no arrests and no damage to property.