This weekend, 71 protestors were arrested in Cleveland following the Michael Brelo verdict in which a Cuyahoga County Court found the Cleveland Police Officer not guilty of voluntary manslaughter as well as charges of assault. Brelo had allegedly fired approximately 15 shots at Timothy Russell and Malissa
Williams after following a 2012 police
chase after they had failed to stop when an officer attempted to pull them
over. The chase culminated in the involvement of as many as 62 police
cars and numerous officers, who fired a total of 137 shots at the
Following the Saturday morning verdict, a handful of peaceful protests cropped up in the Cleveland area. Evening demonstrations, however, proved slightly more volatile. According to the Huffington Post, a majority of the arrests were due to protestors refusing to disperse, though there were a few fights as well. Fights were witnessed on East 4th St, and arrests were made in Cleveland's Warehouse District. A protestor allegedly struck a bystander in the head with a sign Saturday evening while others allegedly pepper-sprayed restaurant patrons on East 4th Street, the main restaurant hub of the city.
Much of the protests paint a picture of peaceful action around the city, however.
Local activist Art McKoy bristled at the notion that protests would lead to marked violence, telling Cleveland.com that "the words 'no justice, no peace' have never meant violence." Mayor Frank Johnson said in a statement that the Brelo verdict and subsequent demonstrations would ultimately define the city. Johnson encouraged citizens to be respectful in their protests:
It is my expectation that we will show the nation that peaceful demonstration and dialogue is the right direction as we move forward as one Cleveland.
The streets of Cleveland have been relatively calm this Sunday. Following the Brelo verdict, the Department of Justice saying that they would also review the case. Brelo has been on unpaid administrative leave since 2012, which will continue pending an internal Cleveland Police Department review.