CLEVELAND — At a moment when all eyes are on protests and marches across Northeast Ohio, Cleveland police said there is a plan it place but aren't releasing any information about what that plan includes.
The City of Cleveland and its Division of Police remain committed to ensuring the safety of participants during future demonstrations as well as protecting citizens’ First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly. While we hope for peaceful demonstrations, the Division of Police has a security plan in place for demonstrations this weekend, as it does for all large events. We encourage citizens to report suspicious or criminal activity to law enforcement - see something, say something. Our number one priority is to keep Clevelanders safe.
The City of Cleveland also reminds demonstrators to exercise special caution due to the coronavirus pandemic by wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.
The signs of the preparations are clear along Fulton Road across the street from Cleveland Police Department’s 2nd District Headquarters.
Concrete barriers are waiting on the grass with metal fencing stacked up by the station.
A business owner across the street said he was told police officers will be on his building’s roof and on the roof of the station.
Protesters plan to gather outside the station to protest the killing of Desmond Franklin.
He was killed on April 9 when an off-duty police officer opened fire on a maroon sedan in the middle of the day, near West 25th Street and Pearl Road.
Franklin, 22, was killed, and a 17-year-old who was also inside the car was injured by broken glass.
The city and police department are trying to prevent the same kind of vandalism and destruction that happened last weekend, when and originally-peaceful protest downtown was denigrated by agitators near the Justice Center and in other parts of the neighborhood.
Those were not the images Rod English remembers when he marched a few hours earlier and left the then-peaceful gathering.
A police car is on fire at Lakeside & W. 3rd pic.twitter.com/9hK6BHnVVr— Caroline Sweeney (@Caroline_On_TV) May 30, 2020
“I can’t excuse it, but at the same time, I understand the frustration, obviously,” English said.
Frustration, he said, over unequal access to education, economic success, and fairness in the American justice system.
“There doesn’t seem to be any active engagement at any level to address the disparities in the great wealth of this country,” English said. “Regardless of what the issue is, distraction of property is not the way to go.”
English said he hopes the extra steps and planning by police aren’t needed.
“We’re being tested,” English said. “You have to decide: where do you stand on these issues?”
It’s a question he and his wife, Rebecca, have been tackling all week.
“I think that I’m very open-minded and diverse and attuned to what’s happening, I still learn from this,” Rebecca said.
Tough lessons at a tough time.
“I’ve cried quite a bit over the last week over some of this,” Rebecca said. “But, it’s good.”