CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland attorney Mark Ondrejech is challenging the city and has filed a lawsuit over the extended curfew still in place.
He says the curfew is violating citizens’ rights and that Mayor Frank Jackson didn’t have the legal authority to institute it after violent and destructive protests broke out last weekend.
“The city needs to answer why it thinks it can do that,” he said. “I don’t think that it can do that under the Ohio Constitution, the US Constitution or the case law. There is no basis for the government restricting in that kind of a manner.”
Ondrejech says he hasn’t seen any civil unrest downtown since the early hours of Sunday morning.
Yet the city was locked down until Wednesday morning, and will be again for the next several nights.
19 News found that according to Ohio law, municipalities have to pass ordinances to set curfews, but they can only do so for people under the age of 18.
Ondrejech says Jackson would need more than a proclamation to institute a curfew for an entire community.
“The courts should order the mayor proclamation unconstitutional,” Ondrejech said.
Citizens can only be out until 8 p.m. now and restaurants are forced to close up early.
That’s hurting downtown businesses already struggling because of the pandemic.
“Even if they had a right to enforce a curfew, the curfew that they’ve put in place and the way that they’ve enforced it have been an overreach,” Ondrejech said.
But, we wanted to know: would it really matter for businesses if there weren’t a curfew?
One restaurant owner told 19 News investigators that his business could be open right now, because it wasn’t hit by looters.
But, he says it seems like everyone’s afraid to come downtown, including his employees.
That’s why he’s choosing to stay closed at least until next week, curfew or no curfew.
“As far as business owners themselves, they have every right to decide to choose how to conduct their business the way that they want,” Ondrejech said. “But, what I am saying is that the government doesn’t have the right to tell me or other people who live downtown whether they can go outside their apartment and live their lives.”