Demonstrators filled Cleveland’s city streets after Saturday’s acquittal of patrolman Michael Brelko on manslaughter charges in the shooting death of a black couple, much like what the nation saw most recently in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray.
Unlike Baltimore, however, Cleveland’s mayor didn’t give police marching orders to give space to those “who wished to destroy” and the police chief warned the city wouldn’t tolerate any one who thought the First Amendment was a license to loot.
As a result, arrests were made — 71 of them — before widespread looting and arson could turn Cleveland into another Baltimore, according to Fox News.
But the potential was definitely there, Fox reported:
Officials said some protesters became violent and turned on bystanders, including some who pepper-sprayed patrons sitting at outdoor cafes downtown.
[Cleveland Police Chief Calvin] Williams said that another protester threw a restaurant sign at a patron, striking him in the head. He says bystanders were also accosted in at least one other instance.
Mayor Frank Jackson thanked the majority of protesters who remained respectful. He says the police will continue to help demonstrators exercise their First Amendment rights but warned the city will not tolerate any protesters who cross the line into violence.
In contrast, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake remains clueless as arrests are down while violent crime in her city skyrockets and the morale of her police officers is understandably “in the sewers.”
Funny how that works.
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