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Cleveland Will Assess Curfew At End Of Week, Mayor Says

Cuyahoga County Sheriffs' Department staff and National Guard members stand outside the Justice Center on Monday. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
Cuyahoga County Sheriffs' Department staff and National Guard soldiers stand outside the Justice Center on Monday.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said he’ll evaluate at the end of the week whether to continue the city’s Downtown and Ohio City curfew in the wake of protests turned violent.

The curfew will lift for daytime hours, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, continuing nightly until Friday. Decisions about Friday night are still pending, he said.

Jackson told ideastream he first wants assurances that there won’t be another wave of vandalism of the kind the city saw over the weekend.

“Because we do not want to do it again,” the mayor said. “Just like we did not want to have another night of civil disobedience and destruction of property in the City of Cleveland. And we did not. So far, we have not.”

Demonstrations continue around the country against the death of George Floyd, a black man who was videotaped crying out for help while a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been fired and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Cleveland’s order prohibits people from traveling through Downtown or the West 25th Street Market District, with exceptions for residents, media and medical care.

The curfew orders have frustrated many residents, employees and business owners, who have been seeking clarity on whether they can get to work and pick up essentials.

Locking down the downtown area in Cleveland allowed police to put more staff into the neighborhoods, allowing for an “aggressive, offensive, prevention and intervention strategy,” Jackson said.

A heavy law enforcement presence showed up at the First District police headquarters on the city’s West Side, where about 150 people peacefully demonstrated Tuesday afternoon. Police made no arrests.

Lifting the order wouldn’t be as simple as flipping a switch, Jackson said.

“[What] I need to see is that somebody’s not going to do you harm, destroy your personal property or your business,” the mayor said.

Meanwhile, Cleveland police continue to investigate the weekend’s unrest, Police Chief Calvin Williams said, and those who were arrested.

“Right now we’re trying to identify as many folks as possible that violated the law in the city of Cleveland,” Williams said. “We’re working with both our state, local and federal partners to do a lot of that.”

A Cuyahoga County jail roster shows all of the 120 people booked over the weekend had Ohio addresses. But on Tuesday, Williams did not back down from an earlier claim that police had picked up people from out of state.

The FBI is asking for photos, video or other tips on "violent encounters" during the demonstrations across the country. Could such evidence lead to some protesters facing federal charges stemming from the violence in Cleveland?

 “I hope so,” Williams replied.

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