Cleveland leaders still say out-of-state protesters caused violence despite opposing evidence

Cleveland Police cruiser vandalized during George Floyd protests downtown
Cleveland Police cruiser vandalized during George Floyd protests downtown(WOIO)
Updated: Jun. 2, 2020 at 4:43 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams are standing by their claim that out-of-state protesters caused most violence and trouble this past weekend.

Our investigation Monday revealed all of the protesters arrested are from the Cleveland area.

Cleveland Police said Monday night, they launched an investigation to see where the protesters are really from.

They said many protesters may have used fake addresses when they were arrested.

But they haven’t provided 19 Investigates evidence of that.

Arraignments continued for protesters Tuesday at the same time as crews kept cleaning up the damage at the Cuyahoga County Justice Center.

It was the site of major clashes between protesters and police over the weekend.

19 Investigates continues to press the city on where the protesters arrested are from.

“We know they were from out of town and out of state,” Williams told 19 News over the phone.

But that's not what 19 Investigates found from jail and court records.

We obtained a list of arrests from Saturday and Sunday.

Not all arrests were protest-related, but out of more than 100 people arrested, we found no one listed an out of state address.

Protesters charged with aggravated riot, breaking and entering and vandalism were from Cleveland and the surrounding suburbs including North Olmsted, Mentor, Westlake and Ashtabula.

Since the weekend, the city has claimed protesters causing the damage were from out of state.

We spoke to Williams and Jackson by phone Tuesday.

“In terms of court records, what I want you to understand, just because someone gave a Cleveland address, um, doesn't mean they live in Cleveland. Especially if you are someone who knows when you get out of court, they can't find you,” Jackson said.

Jackson did say the majority arrested were local, but out-of-state instigators may have escaped arrest.

“That's not to say not Northeast Ohio people, that weren't in the thick of it, but there were people here from out of state and we have arrested some of those folks. We have not arrested a ton of them because those folks travel from state to state, get involved in this stuff, know how to get in and out and start instigation, throw the first rock, pull back, let everyone else join in and frenzy them up. They know when arrest are going to start, they know how to get in and out so they don't get arrested,” Williams said.

The judge we spoke with overseeing the felony charges on Monday told us she paid special attention to everyone’s addresses, making sure they were correct, since it’s especially important during the pandemic.

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