I-TEAM: Why does Cleveland police chief still blame outsiders for downtown rioting?

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Ten more local people just got indicted this week for rioting and looting downtown, so the FOX 8 I-TEAM is pressing the Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams to explain his claims blaming the trouble on people from out of town.

Now, with the new indictments, more than a dozen suspects have been charged for the downtown destruction and stealing, and only two suspects are from outside Northeast Ohio.

Back in May, the day after the rioting. Chief Williams said, “We know that a lot of things that happened today were people that did not reside in the city of Cleveland or this area.”

So, we went back to the chief. When we reminded him that he and Mayor Frank Jackson have said they believe outsiders were mostly to blame for the rioting, he responded with, “We didn’t say that.”

When we asked what evidence he has of outsiders, the chief answered, “Talking to the folks that were down there. And, based on the intelligence that we received.”

However, this week, we caught up with a Cleveland man just indicted, and he told us the chaos was carried out by people from the area.

“Everybody I seen down there was no out-of-towners. I was, myself, with 20-30 people. This wasn’t no outside thing. This was a local thing,” said Andre DeCosta.

So who’s right? The chief argues only a small number of people have been identified and charged. And investigators are still trying to ID many more.

In fact, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office just released security photos with well over 100 suspects still not identified by authorities.

“And I feel we need to wait and see on the identity of those folks before we just blankly say only two people from out of the area took part in violent activities in Cleveland.”

Some investigators believe outsiders started the riots, then took off as local folks carried out the rampage. Not clear yet.

As soon as anyone else is brought to justice for the rioting, we’ll let you know, and, we’ll check out where they live.

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