Between May 29 and June 6 more than 500 people were arrested by the city of Cincinnati as the planned second step of a curfew imposed by Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley as a response to the protests that were organized on the heels of the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police.
The City arrested more than 500 people and charged them with "Misconduct at an Emergency," a misdemeanor of the first degree--the most serious level of misdemeanor there is. This charge was used solely for the purpose of corralling people and preventing protesters from remaining on the streets and exercising their human rights protected by the First Amendment. The City has called these “curfew violations” -- but this isn’t true. Curfew violations alone are simply ticketed offenses. Instead, the City of Cincinnati is going to the extreme by charging these protesters -- and bystanders who were on their way home from work -- with serious, bogus criminal charges carrying up to six months of jail time and large fines. City Council is complicit -- passing a motion to encourage the Prosecutor to offer ways to dismiss the charges. But Council’s dismissal options are actually deceptive plea deals that will leave people who were simply exercising their First Amendment rights with criminal records that will hinder them for years to come--as well as deprive them of the option to seek justice for violations of their civil rights. We can't allow this gross injustice to happen!
It is time for the city of Cincinnati to immediately, and with prejudice* DROP THE CHARGES!
We've been here before! In response to the Civil Rights movement the FBI worked with local law enforcement agencies to suppress and disrupt the actions of people working for justice. This criminalizing of the fight for Black lives has been but one part of the history of policing as a tool of racialized oppression in America. To do anything other than dropping the charges would be to continue the attack on people who have the courage to stand up for racial justice.
*To drop the charges with prejudice means that the city cannot bring these same charges against these individuals at a later time.
We are demanding that #CincyDropTheCharges immediately, and with prejudice.
We call on the City of Cincinnati to drop the charges against all of those who were arrested during recent protests, marches and rallies. We believe that exercising one's First Amendment rights should not be an arrestable offense, and no one should be prosecuted for having the courage to fight for racial justice. Cincinnati can never become a just or equitable city if it arrests and prosecutes people who take to the streets and demonstrate to demand change and justice. It is time to drop the charges!