ACLU files suit on behalf of several protesters - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

ACLU files suit on behalf of several protesters

ACLU files suit after protester arrests (Source: WOIO) ACLU files suit after protester arrests (Source: WOIO)

Months after Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo was found not guilty in the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams and protesters crowded downtown streets, a lawsuit has been filed.

"They should not have corralled people into a pen and kept them," says ACLU’s executive director Chris Link.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit Monday on behalf of four of the 71 protesters arrested Memorial Day weekend.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE LAWSUIT

The suit names Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams. It alleges unlawful seizure, retaliation and extended detention.

Link says the protesters were arrested and falsely charged with failure to disperse. She says those charges were delayed in order to keep protesters off the streets.

"They were trapped by the police and not allowed to disperse. They were held for over 36 hours even though the judges, the prosecutor, and the public defender had all arranged to work that weekend," explains Link.

Neither the city nor police would comment on the pending suit.

But, Link says the arrests were improperly handled and the ACLU wants to make sure future protesters are protected.

"'Black Lives Matter' is coming here in July. August 6th the presidential debate, and about a year from now the Republican National Convention. We want to make sure if people are arrested again, they are immediately let go," says Link.

The ACLU wants a federal judge to stop what they call the city and police department's "protesting policy".

The case could go to trial in a few months.

19 others who were arrested for protesting that weekend could also join the ACLU’s lawsuit.

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