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Coalition Demands Black Lives Matter Arrests Be Dismissed

In the two weeks following the death of George Floyd, an estimated 10,000 people were arrested during protests in the United States. (Adobe Stock)
In the two weeks following the death of George Floyd, an estimated 10,000 people were arrested during protests in the United States. (Adobe Stock)
July 8, 2020

CINCINNATI -- There are new demands that the City of Cincinnati drop the charges against hundreds of people arrested during racial-injustice protests.

On Tuesday, the Cincinnati Mass Defense Coalition served the city with motions to dismiss the cases against more than 500 people who were arrested, detained and charged while protesting in support of Black Lives Matter.

Coalition attorney Jacqueline Green, a partner at Friedman and Gilbert, contended that police selectively targeted protesters based on the content of their message.

"And the message, of course, was that they were standing up against racist policing and brutality," she said, "and the city's approach and decision to arrest these people was specifically targeted to silence and suppress that message."

If the city prosecutor's office continues to pursue the charges, it then will be up to the Hamilton County Municipal Court to determine whether to grant or deny the motion. Neither the city or the police department has commented on the motion.

Most of the Cincinnati arrests are tied to violations of the curfew established by the mayor, which Greene argued may not have been lawfully declared. She noted that there are similar stories of repression at protests in other Ohio communities and other states.

"It's taken different forms in the different major cities, and of course, in some smaller towns as well," she said. "So, we've seen a lot of violence, a lot of excessive force, a lot of aggressive policing tactics that are designed to scare people, and to chill speech and disempower the movement for black lives."

It's estimated that in just the two weeks after the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, 10,000 people had been arrested in protests across the United States.

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This story was produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH