I-Team: First federal charges for downtown Cleveland rioting and more to come

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-Team revealed Friday morning the first federal charges tied to the rioting last weekend in downtown Cleveland, and we’re uncovering more about other investigations including a group of people arrested for trying to break into Progressive Field.

The first federal case involves two men from Erie, PA, found in downtown Cleveland the night of the riots with a gun, containers of gel to start fires and more. Records show they were questioned that night, and Friday morning they were arrested.

Michael Althof Long and Devon Poland have been hit with a series of charges.

Devon Bryce Poland (left), Brandon Althof-Long (right)

Investigators say they didn’t come here for a Saturday protest revolving around a call for justice for George Floyd, a man killed in police custody in Minnesota.

Eric Smith,  the Special Agent-In-Charge of the FBI in Cleveland, said, “These two individuals discussed, planned and traveled to our city with the specific intent to destroy and incite violence.”

Investigators say the suspects sent text messages to each other. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.” And one told the other to say to his lover, “tell her you gotta overthrow the government first.”

And, this comes with more cases growing. Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said even Friday morning police arrested several people suspected of trying to break into Progressive Field and start a fire.

Federal and local investigators say they’re following up on every tip and every piece of video going back to last weekend.

Justin Herdman, the US Attorney in Cleveland, said, “if you burnt a car, if you broke into a store, if you beat somebody up, then we are going to find you.”

The I-Team asked what evidence has been found of outside organizers coming in and starting the riot. Are they behind the trouble?

Investigators say they are still looking into that. They have much more to check out.

Across the street from the Justice Center downtown, the I-Team has learned law enforcement officers found a small stash of hammers. That raises more questions for the follow-up to the rioting.
Meantime, the I-Team has revealed some people who’ve been arrested for rioting and breaking curfew downtown have used fake addresses.

And Friday morning, we found yet another bad address for a man under investigation.
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department are also gathering video from the unrest and following up for possible charges in county court.
The man just hit with federal charges had been spotted in a downtown alley.

After what happened, investigators don’t want anyone hiding in the shadows.

Continuing coverage here

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