The streets of Cleveland turned ugly on Sunday following the first national Black Lives Matter conference, where activists convened to discuss the use of deadly force between police and African-Americans.
It is now unclear who made the decision to release the child, but we will update this with more information as it becomes available. East 30th and Euclid was blocked by police for a time, but later reopened. After the boy was in custody, demonstrators were shown blocking the ambulance he had placed into. Shortly thereafter, reports began emerging on social media of Cleveland RTA Police officers assaulting those gathered with pepper spray, according to a report from Mashable.
That’s when a large crowd gathered, and RTA police decided to move the boy to a police cruiser. Police escorted the youth from the bus to a bus shelter on Euclid Avenue at East 24th Street.
The transit authority said a crowd started to surround the police vehicle in which the teen was held.
RTA’s statement further maintains that the crowd kept the police vehicle from leaving, even trying to remove the teen from the auto. By this time, several other law enforcement agencies had also responded. “Damn right.’ One cop says to another cop of the Black community coming together”, the official Twitter account for the conference tweeted. Over 1,200 attendees pre-registered for the event with more expected to have attended throughout the weekend.
Cleveland has been a focus of the Black Lives Matter campaign after the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by a police officer and a 2012 shooting of two unarmed people following a police chase. However, only Brelo was charged criminally because prosecutors said he waited until the vehicle had stopped, and the pair no longer a threat, to fire 15 shots through its windshield while standing on the hood of the auto.
Brelo’s acquittal, in May, spurred protests that resulted in dozens being arrested.
Police officers and demonstrators clashed Sunday during a protest in Cleveland.