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'It’s all of our responsibility,' Activist files suit for unlawful arrest after open carrying a firearm

Antoine Tolbert
Posted at 10:31 PM, Aug 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-23 09:31:25-04

CLEVELAND — Cleveland Police body cam video given to us from Antoine Tolbert and his attorney illustrates the entire ordeal surrounding his newly filed lawsuit against the City of Cleveland.

On May 23, Tolbert was openly carrying his shotgun near East 89 and St. Clair Avenue, something he often does with his organization New Era Cleveland.

News 5 reported many times on New Era armed patrols in Cleveland’s violent neighborhoods, he's always told us the goal is to deter crime.

'New Era Cleveland' aims to protect and unify neighborhoods with its service work

“Keeping the community safe isn’t just the responsibility of police officers, it’s all of our responsibility, especially those of us that are enduring it when children are being murdered in our neighborhood,” said Tolbert.

Local organization ramps up armed streets patrols in Cleveland neighborhoods dealing with gun violence

But Tolbert’s goal was quickly derailed as video showed Cleveland Police arrested Tolbert.

Police charged Tolbert with carrying a concealed weapon and a grand jury later dismissed the charges, though video showed Tolbert openly carrying a firearm and at the time the activist says he was legally permitted to carry.

“How does an officer have that type of authority, we have law enforcement officers enforcing law and they don’t know law, that’s a problem,” asked Tolbert.

On Monday, Tolbert filed suit against the City of Cleveland for unlawful and false arrest.

Cleveland activist arrested for legally carrying firearm

“The main concern when watching the body cam and seeing the officers were going to arrest him for carrying a concealed weapon when they know he wasn’t carrying a concealed weapon is mindboggling to me,” said Tolbert’s attorney Tianna Bohanon.

The activist says his rights were violated and every officer involved in his arrest should be fired but his disappointment doesnt sway his determination.

“This made my vision clearer, this has really driven me to ground myself in the work that we’re doing,” said Tolbert.

News 5 reached out to Cleveland Police for comment on the lawsuit, a city spokesperson responded by telling us per policy that they do not comment on pending litigation.

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