Protesters question Euclid police city hall riot gear response

Officers in riot gear respond to city hall protest
Posted at 11:10 PM, Aug 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-22 23:10:24-04

Protesters looking to give their input at a council meeting Monday night questioned the use of officers in riot gear to move them out of city hall.

Attorney Sarah Gelsomino said she witnessed dozens of officers lined up inside Euclid City Hall in riot gear, and she believes it was an over deployment of force that only made an already tense situation worse.

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Gelsomino is representing the family of Luke Stewart, who was shot and killed by Euclid Officer Matthew Rhodes during a traffic stop in March. The case is under investigation.

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"We had police officers who were threatening pepper spray pellets inside, it's insane," said Gelsomino. "The police can make a decision, they can escalate that situation, or they can deescalate the situation."

More than 60 protesters flooded into Euclid's city hall council chambers to let their voices be heard concerning the Stewart case, and the violent arrest of Richard Hubbard two weeks ago.

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Gelsomino and family members of Luke Stewart believe officer Mathew Rhodes, who shot and killed Stewart during a March 13 traffic stop, should be taken off of patrol, pending the outcome of a use-of-force investigation.

Euclid Mayor Kirsten Holzheimer said she is lining-up a series of meetings with the Stewart family and other protesters involved with the case.

Holzheimer said she will look into the use of police in riot gear during the council meeting, and will talk with the Euclid police chief about Officer Rhodes being kept on the streets.