Community police commission asks for DOJ probe of excessive force during Cleveland protest

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(Watch previous coverage of the May 30 protest in the video player above)

CLEVELAND (WJW)– The Cleveland Community Police Commission requested the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice investigate incidents of excessive force during the May 30 protest in downtown Cleveland.

The protest started with a peaceful demonstration about the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, police brutality and racial inequality. While many protesters marched to Public Square, a group stayed near the Cuyahoga County Justice Center. Cleveland police said items were thrown at officers, who used tear gas. At least two Cleveland police cruisers were set on fire and the Ohio National Guard was activated.

The commission questioned the tactics used on protesters by the Cleveland Division of Police, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department and possibly the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority police.

The Cleveland Community Police Commission said witness accounts and video verification showed unprovoked police began shooting tear gas, flash grenades, pepper balls and wooden bullets into the crowd. A 24-year-old man lost use of his right eye after he was shot in the face with a beanbag, according to the commission.

There is at least one video showing an officer using a baton to hit a man, who was trying to create space between police and protesters, the community police commission said in its letter.

“The Cleveland Community Police Commission asks that the DOJ once again take a look at law enforcement in Cleveland centering around the practices and policies of these agencies in Northeast Ohio that may deprive persons of their right to lawfully assemble. The Constitutional violations specific to exercising first amendment rights appear to have continued despite current reform efforts mandated by the DOJ,” the commission said.

FOX 8 News reached out to the Cleveland Division of Police, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department and Cleveland RTA police for comment.

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