NewsPolice Violence Protests

Actions

FBI agents arrest 2 men in PA for role in violence, destruction in Downtown Cleveland last weekend

Arrested suspects
Slide1.jpeg
Posted at 12:03 PM, Jun 05, 2020

UPDATE: Federal prosecutors dismissed charges against Devon Bryce Poland and Brandon Althof-Long in 2021.

———

ORIGINAL 2020 REPORT:

Two men were arrested in Pennsylvania and have been charged federally for their role in the violence during and after the peaceful demonstrations in Cleveland last weekend.

Devon Bryce Poland and Brandon Althof-Long were arrested by FBI agents and were found to be in possession of weapons and accelerants, according to Cleveland police. They both have addresses in Pennsylvania, in the Erie area, said Eric Smith, SAC with the Cleveland Division of the FBI.

Slide1.jpeg
Weapons and items that the two suspects were found to be in possession of when they were arrested.

The men are in their early 20s, Smith said, and at this time, it is not known if they are associated with any established groups or organizations.

The men were initially arrested on a curfew violation in Cleveland on Saturday and found to be in possession of a legally-possessed firearm, officials stated. The men were arrested again in the Erie, PA area Friday morning by agents. They have a detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

According to their criminal complaint, both men are charged with the following federal offenses:

  • Transporting any firearm, or explosive or incendiary device, in furtherance of civil disorder
  • Conspiracy to use fire or an explosive to commit any felony which may be prosecuted in a court of the United States
  • Organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on a riot; and aiding or abetting any person in inciting or participating in or carrying on a riot or committing any act of violence in furtherance of a riot

The criminal affidavits for Poland and Althof-Long state that the men were stopped by police Saturday night in a vehicle with Pennsylvania plates in an alley in Cleveland. Officer saw a hamer, a bottle of liquor, a BB gun and a red plastic bottle of liquid fire starters in the vehicle. An additional search of the vehicle revealed: a backpack, two Glock 45 pistol, two loaded Glock magazine, a pocket knife, another bottle of liquid firestarter, spray paint, and a iPhone.

A federal search warrant obtained on May 31 to search both men's phones revealed a Facebook Messenger conversation on Saturday where the two planned a trip to watch and participate in riots in Cleveland.

The two originally planned to participate in riots in Pittsburgh, but, Althof-Long said: "Cleveland seems like a better spot to riot watch. Police shooting teargas and flash bangs, Pittsburgh hasn’t had much of that."

When Poland said his "future wife needs me," Althof-Long responded: "This is a once in a life time thing you can witness and maybe participate in" and then "Or tell her you gotta go overthrow the govt first."

Poland later asked Althof-Long: "Should we bring Molotov supplies?” to which Long responded: "Sadly enough I think I have everything needed for a Molotov in my car. Like normally."

Later that night, Althof-Long told Poland that Pittsburgh was "blocked shut bro" and “Cleveland is more lit anyway."

More arrests, charges possible

Local and federal law enforcement are pursuing more federal charges for those responsible for the destruction of Downtown Cleveland, U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said.

Herdman and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said charges are related to the rioting, looting and destruction that occurred over the weekend, and not connected to the peaceful demonstrations that were taking place.

“Last weekend, if you burnt a car, if you broke into a store, if you beat someone up, we are going to find you,” Herdman said.

“Everyone has a constitutional right to demonstrate and to free speech, but once there is violence against people or destruction of property, we do need to take action,” Jackson said.

Police also being held accountable

In addition, Herdman said police will be held accountable for any misconduct that happened during the demonstrations last weekend, though he said he has not seen any reports of these incidents.

“If there was behavior amongst police officers that departed from our standards, you better believe they will be held accountable for that as well,” Herman said.

More arrests Friday morning

Five people were arrested for trying to break into Progressive Field Friday morning, said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams. Police found fire accelerants, extinguishers and protest signs in a vehicle connected to the arrestees nearby. Williams said they are from Ohio, but not Cuyahoga County.

Williams said the results were a direct result of the curfew in place in Cleveland, which he said is working.

Williams said a task force is still investigating the destruction in Cleveland last weekend and intends make more arrests and bring more charges.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Williams said.

RELATED: Vandals cause widespread damage to businesses around Cleveland's Playhouse Square