Cuyahoga County Sheriff not prepared for large protest: ‘It was like a snowball that got bigger and bigger’

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – The Cuyahoga County Sheriff says demonstrators threw produce, water bottles, and paint cans at law enforcement Saturday and that his department did not plan properly for the large-scale protest.

Speaking during a Cuyahoga County Safety Committee Hearing Wednesday, Sheriff David Schilling said they anticipated about 200 to 300 protesters and not the “3,000 to 4,000” that showed up Saturday.

He said they did not have extra deputies working. 

Once the protest got violent, the SWAT team was called to help. Other outside agencies were also brought in to assist.

A protest was held downtown Cleveland Saturday to voice concerns and outrage over the police killing of George Floyd.

The protest started peacefully but turned violent.

“I think initially we underplanned,” the sheriff said.

Several vehicles were set on fire, and many businesses vandalized and looted.

“It was like a snowball,” the sheriff told county council members. 

He added that deputies did use tear gas on the crowd in an effort to take control of the situation. 

He said protesters started out throwing produce, like lettuce and broccoli.

“Then the water bottles started to come, glass bottles started to come, rocks, paint cans,” the sheriff added.

He added that the protesters did damage the Justice Center and he believed many of the protesters were from out of the area that only wanted to cause damage and destruction.

The FOX 8 I-Team found that several of the more than one hundred people that were arrested gave false addresses stating they lived locally. 

Court records show some arrested in Cleveland riot used fake addresses

The I-Team checked the addresses and some don’t even exist.

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