CLEVELAND (WJW)– Video obtained by the FOX 8 I-Team shows a protester getting attacked as he tried to calm an angry mob last week in a riot in downtown Cleveland. He said he’d do it again.
Vincent Hardaeous spoke to the I-Team after a woman swung a baseball bat inches from his head on the steps of the Cuyahoga County Justice Center.
“Oh my goodness, I saw her with that bat. I kinda saw her start hitting the glass. I walked in front of her. I’m like, ‘No you can’t be doing this. If you hit anything, hit me,'” Hardaeous said.
It happened a week ago Saturday after a peaceful demonstration exploded. A big crowd gathered to speak out against police brutality and the death of George Floyd, a man who died in police custody in Minnesota.
Hardaeous ended up putting himself in harm’s way when the crowd moved up to the Justice Center and tried to get inside.
“I’ve never had a sense of urgency like I did that day. I asked people, like, ‘Are you ready to get shot because if this keeps progressing that’s what’s gonna happen.”
“I’m on their side. I’m there for the movement. There for the people. Ultimately, I’m there for the people. I have to protect my people.”
Some in the crowd started throwing things at police, others burned police cars, others destroyed windows and more at downtown businesses, and others went on a looting spree.
What happened to Hardaeous could have just gotten lost in the chaos. Video of the incident caught the attention of some people in local law enforcement. The I-Team learned there’s a push to nominate the protester who got attacked for an award from police. It’s an award for citizens making a difference on the streets in the face of danger.
“I’m not trying to stop you from protesting. But consider other people,” Hardaeous said. “Ten times over. Ten times over, I’d do it again to make sure my people are safe.”
Cleveland police put out a call for tips to identify the woman with the baseball bar so that charges can be filed.