Man who alleges assault during Cleveland protest files federal lawsuit

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — A man, who alleges he was assaulted by a Cleveland police officer during a May 30 violent protest, has filed a federal lawsuit, the FOX 8 I-Team has learned.

Ryan O’Connor filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court stating he was assaulted by Cleveland Police Officer John Kazimer.  The suit alleges O’Connor’s constitutional rights were violated on May 30. 

“On that day, plaintiff attended the protest against police brutality where he was subjected to the very thing that he was protesting — police brutality,” the suit states. 

According to the suit, O’Connor says Kazimer struck him in the legs three times with his police issued baton and he suffered a damaged foot, injury to his back, and trauma to his psyche.

The suit was filed by attorneys Ian Friedman, David Malik, Sara Gedeon, and Madelyn Grant. 

“This lawsuit is necessary to curb the ongoing and systemic abuse inflicted by some members of the Cleveland Police Department,”  Friedman said. “This action is important as it seeks not only to hold Officer John Kazimer accountable but to expose the utter failure by those in leadership positions to properly address needed police training including supervision of lawful protests. This case highlights the need for meaningful police reform at so many levels. If this officer felt so emboldened to assault a man while knowing that he was being filmed, imagine what he could do when the cameras are off. It is time for transparency and accountability and thanks to the bravery of Mr. O’Connor and so many others just like him, change is on its way.”

The suit further notes that O’Connor was trying to protect other protesters when he was attacked. 

“The unconstitutional attack caused one witnesses to shout, ‘An innocent man was just attacked! A peacemaker! A peacemaker was just attacked,'” the suit states. ” Mr. O’Connor, in disbelief that he had been attacked for trying to help, then yelled to defendant Kazimer, ‘I was trying to help you.'”

The city does not comment on pending litigation.

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