I-TEAM: What police choppers saw during the riots in downtown Cleveland

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Cleveland Division of Police released never-before-seen video to the FOX 8 I-TEAM, and it shows what their choppers recorded during hours of rioting and looting.

The video reveals how the eyes in the sky saw what officers on the ground couldn’t always see.

The video also provides a new look at how officers on the streets were overwhelmed by angry, destructive crowds.

Rioting and looting erupted on May 30 after a peaceful demonstration against police use of force.

The chopper video shows how officers worried about being able to hold off a crowd outside the doors to the Justice Center and the county jail. 

You also hear how chopper crews were able to direct officers on the ground to trouble spots they couldn’t see with all of the tall buildings.

The chopper cameras did not record tight shots of the crowd with great details, so in and of itself, it may not be enough to solve crimes.

But detectives are going through all of that video because it could help build cases against suspects already identified.

By nightfall, the video shows police had started taking back the streets. But even then the choppers captured people throwing things trying to break windows.

More than 100 people ended up arrested for rioting and violating an emergency curfew.  Many are facing city charges with more serious county charges to come.

The U.S. Attorney in Cleveland has also filed federal charges in a handful of cases.

The police chopper video gives us one more look at the chaos with a view from some of the people trying to stop it.

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