CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team has obtained new video never seen before from the day in May when protesters in downtown Cleveland started facing off with police and sheriff’s deputies as a demonstration erupted into hours of rioting.
New video just released to FOX 8 comes from the body cameras of Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department deputies.
The video gives us the first look at the trouble through the eyes of deputies on the doorstep of the Justice Center as a growing crowd pressed toward the doors and began throwing things at law enforcement and officers and deputies began firing tear gas and pepper spray and other projectiles trying to disperse the crowd.
One clip shows a man smashing a glass door at the Justice Center complex which includes the county jail.
Another clip shows a bottle thrown at a shield held by a deputy.
Another clip shows a man nose-to-nose to a deputy saying, “Come on, hit me. I stand wherever the (expletive) I want.”
After a couple of minutes, another deputy or police officer pushes the man back saying, “You’re too aggressive. Get back.” Then an officer or deputy can be heard saying, “Let me guess, that was peaceful protesting, right?”
The county, Tuesday, turned over hours of video to FOX 8 after the I-Team had legal counsel spend weeks demanding the release under public records laws.
The incident developed after a group had gathered for a peaceful protest against police use of force sparked by the death of George Floyd, a man who died in police custody in Minnesota.
The new video includes many clips of deputies firing “less lethal” munitions to break up the crowd. You also see some of what was fired thrown back a deputies.
A man in the crowd, in another clip, says, “My friend just got unnecessarily pepper-sprayed by y’all.”
Weeks ago, the I-Team reported a breakdown of what deputies fired into the crowd.
A list provided by the county includes “an approximate…500 rounds” of pepperball, typically a ball filled with an irritant used in pepper spray. Plus, 17 “Hand Toss CS Canisters” and 9 “Hand Toss OC Canisters” with tear gas and the irritant used in pepper spray.
One man walking away from the demonstration ended up losing an eye after he apparently got hit by a bean bag fired by law enforcement. The county did not provide a number of bean bags fired by deputies citing an “ongoing investigation.” The I-Team reported earlier one deputy now has been reassigned and state agents are handling the investigation.
The list of munitions provided by the county also includes 23 rounds of “40 MM Launcher Projectiles”, 71 rounds of “FN303 Launcher Projectiles”, 5 “Hand Toss Stinger Grenades”, 3 “Hand Toss Smoke Canisters”, and 9 “Hand Toss OC Canisters.”
The I-Team has reported Cleveland police also used pepper spray and other similar munitions to try to hold back and break up the crowd, and not long after the disturbance began, Cleveland police ran out of what they had. They then had to send an officer across town to get a new supply.
The I-Team has requested records from Cleveland police.
And, the city says police are still doing a review of how officers handled everything that day from the first protest to the demonstration outside the Justice Center to hours of looting and rioting.
More than 100 people ended up arrested for rioting and looting and violating a curfew. Those cases are just starting to move through city, county, and federal court.
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