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CPD allows protesters to stop traffic, break law

Posted at 10:50 PM, Dec 30, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-30 23:14:10-05

For the second consecutive night Cleveland police allowed protesters to block downtown traffic and break city law.

50 to 60 protesters spent more than hours demonstrating against the Dec. 28 ruling by a grand jury not to file charges against the two officers involved in the police shooting death of 12 year old Tamir Rice.

Demonstrators blocked traffic at Cleveland's public square for 20 minutes causing gridlock and delays for drivers and downtown workers trying to get home.

Protesters then moved to the intersection of Prospect and Ontario Avenue and held-up traffic for nearly a half hour while sending a strong message to police and pedestrians.

So far police have made no arrests, and the protests have been peaceful.

Rick McLaughlin was caught in the traffic as he tried to make his way to Quicken Loans Arena for a concert.

McLaughlin believes police need to start making arrests.

"They're disrupting everybody's evening, I'm just trying to get downtown and have a good evening, they're trying to ruin it," said McLaughlin, "I'd arrest all of them, I've already been rerouted three times to try and get where I'm going."

Tawana Holifield of East Cleveland applauds police for using restraint, but said at some point officers will have to uphold the law.

"When it's endangering the pedestrians and other people around them," said Holifield.  "If this is something quite and they can control it, but once it becomes out of hand I think that they should do something about it."

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson acknowledged that protesters would block the streets and delay traffic calling it 'the inconvenient of freedom.'"

Cleveland city hall responded to our story, but wouldn't get specific as to how long police would allow protesters to break city law.

City hall issued the following statement:

"The intent last night and today is to allow demonstrators to peacefully express their 1st amendment rights as long as there is no damage to person or property."

Meanwhile other downtown residents like Jim Kuchanek maintains protesters should be allowed to block traffic as long as the protests are peaceful.

“I think we should have never gotten to this point," said Kuchanek. "If that grand jury, if they would have a public prosecutor, and special guy, not McGinty that is in the pocket of the police, you won't have had this. Those cops should have been indicted, both of them."