Nearly Half of All Charges from Cleveland May 30 Demonstrations Have Been Dropped


  • Emanuel Wallace / Scene
Adam Ferrise at has reported that 53 out of 120 total cases stemming from the May 30 racial justice demonstrations in downtown Cleveland have been dropped by local judges.

Many of the dismissed cases involved violations of Mayor Frank Jackson's curfew. A U.S. District Court Judge ruled last month that simply being downtown after the curfew was not sufficient probable cause to arrest. (Judge Patricia Gaughan ruled that two Pennsylvania men who were arrested downtown that night — these were the out-of-state agitators Police Chief Calvin Williams was eager to promote — were not disobeying a police order when they were arrested.)

Ferrise noted that 10 defendants have pled guilty to the curfew charges and received only fines. Twenty-five of the 49 pending cases are also curfew-related and, given Gaughan's ruling, judges and prosecutors are likely to drop them or impose fines as opposed to jail time.

Cleveland Municipal Court Judge Mike Nelson, who has dismissed a number of cases himself, said that he believed Judge Gaughan's ruling could just as well apply to anybody arrested on May 30, "whether it was related to the incident in front of her court or not."

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