By Jessie Schoonover
“No justice no peace.” “George Floyd,” and “I can’t breathe.”
Protesters shouted these powerful sentiments and the name of George Floyd as they made their way across Cleveland’s West Side during the late afternoon hours of Tuesday, June 2.
Around 75 protestors initially gathered near the First District police station and reportedly moved toward Lakewood.
I-71 south and north ramps were closed to traffic near West 130th Street.
Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams emphasized the demonstration was peaceful and that they were monitoring the situation from the room, even as the Mayor and Police Chief held a 3:30 p.m. conference call with Cleveland’s small media outlets arranged by Neighborhood Media Foundation (including the West Park Times, Plain Press, The Tremonster, Cleveland Street Chronicle, La Mega Nota CLE, Profile News Ohio, Cleveland Jewish News, Erie Chinese Journal, The Lotus, Ward 7 Observer, Collinwood Observer, East Side Daily News, The Real Deal Press, Neighborhood News) to update Cleveland’s residents at the grassroots.
“What is happening right now is we have deployed people there to ensure that if something [gets] out of control they can handle it,” he said at the time of the protests. “We have the Deputy Chief of Operations in the midst…right now talking to them. They are [having a] conversation… So far, they are peaceful. They are just talking and expressing their opinion.”
When asked how the protests began the Mayor noted:
“They start off by somebody organizing it. They get on social media. We were aware of this happening…about a day and a half ago- whenever the organizer posted it and asked for people to come to the rally. So, we were aware of it, and in some cases, depending on who the organizer is, we might even have a conversation with them beforehand to ask how they’re going to behave. Nine out of ten times, nobody’s gonna tell you they aren’t going to behave right.
“But we have [formed] relationships with many people over time,” he said. “And they have pretty much conducted themselves as they promised they would.
“We have modified our current curfew for Downtown and near-West Side, Ohio City (W. 25th St.), and we are going to relax some of that at 6 a.m. for just normal business operations and then reinstitute at 8 p.m… But the rest of the city we haven’t put under curfew,” he says.
“We have deployed resources to prevent things,” the Mayor reiterated, “to ensure that we can get on top of it quickly and squash it if anything happens.”
While the Mayor and Police Chief commented on how Cleveland Police are dealing with protests in our city, multiple First District Police climbed over barriers to join the protesters.
Steve Lorenz commented on the Facebook page for The West Park Times, “I want to commend Commander Daniel Fay, his officers, and the protesters for their mutual show of respect.”
Neighbirhood Media contributed to this report*