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ACLU, National Lawyers Guild say Cleveland is failing to follow mass arrest protocol during RNC

Posted at 6:32 PM, Jul 21, 2016

The ACLU of Ohio and Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild expressed concern about protesters' civil rights Thursday afternoon after it took the city of Cleveland 24 hours to arraign protesters arrested during a flag burning demonstration.

In separate statements, the civil rights organizations said the delays show the city of Cleveland failed to follow its mass arrest protocol.

17 people were arrested after a U.S. flag was set on fire on E. 4th St. and  Prospect Ave. Wednesday afternoon.

“The city of Cleveland announced that the courts were prepared to handle upwards of 1000 arrests per day, yet this small group of people are facing long delays in having their cases heard. There is no reason these people should be held for so long on minor charges," said Christine Link, the executive director of the ACLU of Ohio.

"Police in Philadelphia have planned to simply issue tickets for offenses such as failure to disperse during the Democratic National Convention. The delays in processing these cases suggest that protesters are purposefully being held to keep them off the streets. This is simply unacceptable treatment," said Link.

In a statement, the Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild said, in part, "This delay is troubling as it is reminiscent of the delays we witnessed last May after the acquittal of Michael Brelo."

Lawyers with the Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Cleveland Branch of the NAACP, and their partner attorneys appeared at the Cuyahoga Justice Center to represent those arrested during the RNC on Wednesday.

Most of the protesters were finally arraigned late Thursday afternoon. All of those were arraigned plead not guilty to the charges against them, which included failure to disperse and disorderly conduct.