CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland Heights police are aware of a circulating social media post that alleges a man with a gun walked around town threatening to kill Black people.
Cleveland Heights police acknowledged there was an incident and told 19 News that it occurred around 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
Police said the man was exercising his second amendment right to openly carry a weapon.
Police said no one called the department to report a threat, and no laws were broken.
But the President of the Euclid NAACP of NE Ohio says, “If this allegation is proved to be true then we need to ensure that number one the person does not have access to any weapons, number two we need to look at the mental capacity of the person that has the weapon. Number three, Cleveland Heights Police need to enforce state laws as well as local laws that deal with ethnic intimidation, as well as intimidation and menacing."
In a press release to 19 News, the Cleveland Heights Police Chief Annette M. Mecklenburg said, officers responded to the 3500 block of Blanche Avenue on Saturday, and immediately spoke to the man. After speaking with the man, officers determined the man was not breaking any laws and it is within the law to carry a firearm in plain sight. Again, on Saturday police said no one notified them of any threats.
But in a statement the police chief goes on to say:
“On the afternoon of October 25, 2020, the Police Department was notified about a social media post indicating that the man had told someone that he was “going to kill black people.” Upon learning this information, officers are attempting to identify and locate the person who heard the man make these threats which we take very seriously. As we investigate, we will be increasing patrols in the area where the man was seen walking yesterday and across the City. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Cleveland Heights Police Department at 216-321-1234.”
President of the Euclid NAACP Cassandra McDonald released a statement about the incident.
“This matter goes well beyond a second amendment right. We are not looking for Cleveland Heights Police Department to challenge a second amendment right, as long as those same rights and perspective of the law is given to a “black person,” should he also wish to demonstrate those very same rights. What we are addressing however, is the law(s) that were actually violated which includes making terroristic threats, and ethnic intimidation. Even more so, outside of state law, Cleveland Heights charter requires an arrest, or at the least charges being filed against anyone who violates sections 537.09 and 537.06 of their municipal ordinances. Open carry and freedom of speech is one thing, but what this person said out of his own mouth; and if what is stated that he said is factual, then Cleveland Heights Police along with the Prosecutors office should act on this according to both state and local law…”
This isn’t a case of over-reacting; we are being proactive as we should. I question his mental state and having a gun. Who’s going to take the blame if in fact something happens?
McDonald does plan to follow up with the prosecutor’s office this week to see if in fact any charges are brought against the unidentified man. She says if someone made up this threat as a hoax they should also face charges.
However, hundreds of social media users are sharing the post with their concerns.
This photo was attached to the post. 19 News covered the face of the child pictured.
This is a developing story and will be updated.