Protesters told Cleveland 19 that they were not surprised to see armed Euclid police officers in riot gear show up to confront vocal, but nonviolent, protesters at a city council meeting.
Black Lives Matter protesters aired concerns at a Monday night city council meeting, saying that the police needed to provide answers to concerns they had over the police-involved shooting death of Luke Stewart, 23, and the violent arrest of Richard Hubbard III, 25.
Kareem Henton, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Cleveland, protested at Monday night’s meeting. He said a main goal of the action was “to lend strength, as well as support, to the families those affected of course by the violence of Euclid police.”
Dozens of protestors were escorted out of the city council meeting, and an impromptu sit-in began outside the council chambers. Eventually, several Euclid police officers, in full riot gear, showed up and threatened those gathered with arrest if they didn’t leave.
Cleveland 19 asked one of the protestors, Kareem Henton, if they were surprised by the police show of force.
“Unfortunately, not in the least,” said Henton, who is a co-founder of Black Lives Matter Cleveland. “When you look at the videos of what happened to Richard Hubbard you know that it’s a part of their culture. When you look at the background of officer Michael Amiott you know it’s a part of who he is and he didn’t just – it’s not just a he’s that way, but he found a culture here within the Euclid police department that was conducive to that behavior.”
Just hours after the protest, the Euclid Police Department canceled a “Coffee with a Cop” event that’s designed to “help develop relationships between community policing officers and residents of the community.” The Euclid Police Department media relations representative told Cleveland 19 that he couldn’t address either why officers responded in riot gear or why the Coffee with a Cop meeting was canceled.
In March, Stewart was shot and killed by a Euclid police officer after a call to check out a suspicious vehicle turned deadly. Officers said Stewart tried to run cops over with his car. The city of Euclid said the investigation into that incident was performed by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, an investigation that is completed and now has to go to the Cuyahoga County grand jury. Euclid city officials said they hadn’t seen the report.
Protestors also cited the violent struggle between Euclid officers and Hubbard. The incident, seen on dashcam and on a cell phone video, shows a violent struggle between Hubbard and Euclid officers lasting more than three minutes.
During the process of the traffic stop, according to police, officers said Hubbard physically resisted arrest.
The city has said their hands are somewhat tied in disciplining officers, since cops are part of collective bargaining agreements. Euclid Police Chief Scott Meyer said that the officer involved in Hubbard’s arrest, Amiott, has been suspended for the longest amount of time allowed and will be supervised for at least 60 days upon returning to the force and will have to undergo re-training.
Officials also said the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was in charge of investigating the deadly shooting of Stewart. Matthew Rhodes is the officer involved in that case. Officials said the BCI report is complete, and the next step is it will go to a Cuyahoga County grand jury to determine if any criminal charges should be filed.
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