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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Small, Persistent Band of Tamir Rice Protesters Marched All Week Long

Posted By on Tue, Jan 5, 2016 at 2:26 PM

click to enlarge Protesters chant and dance outside the Euclid entrance to E. 4th, where police block their entry on New Year's Eve. - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • Protesters chant and dance outside the Euclid entrance to E. 4th, where police block their entry on New Year's Eve.
All last week, in the wake of Prosecutor Timothy McGinty’s Monday announcement that Cleveland police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback would not be indicted in the shooting death of Tamir Rice, diverse groupings of protesters assembled to march in the streets and voice their displeasure.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (New Year’s Eve), protesters marched downtown. They formed circles at prominent intersections and chanted as they processed down main streets. Cleveland Police, out in huge numbers to direct the flow of affected traffic (and also, evidently, to gather intel on protesters via handheld recording devices), trailed the marches on foot, in vehicles, and on horseback.

Last Tuesday, officers blocked protesters from entering the Shoreway, and later, from entering I-71 and I-90 via the on-ramps at Carnegie and E. 9th.

On Thursday night, New Year’s Eve revelers mockingly joined the march and engaged protesters (some genuinely, some combatively) outside popular restaurants. The police prevented protesters from entering E. 4th Street and W. 6th Street, presumably in an attempt to prevent scuffles with patrons there. On W. 6th, one officer specifically told protesters that they weren't allowed on the sidewalk; they must march in the street. 

Regarding the legality of those measures — “Isn’t E. 4th pedestrian-only?” it occurred to Scene to inquire, for example — Cleveland Police Public Information Officer Jennifer Ciaccia said only that protesters were instructed not to enter “high-traffic areas” for “safety reasons.”

Friday, on a bitterly cold New Year’s Day afternoon, more than 100 protesters gathered at Impett Park on Cleveland’s west side and marched to the West Park home of Timothy McGinty. There, they stood and chanted in his driveway, calling for his immediate resignation, a DOJ investigation of the Rice case, and the badge of Timothy Loehmann.

Protesters staged a four-minute “die-in,” one of their more frequent symbolic gestures, to memorialize the time Tamir was left bleeding on the ground at Cudell without medical attention.

Saturday night, a small group gathered at the Quicken Loans Arena to protest as Cavaliers’ fans entered for the evening matchup versus the Orlando Magic. There were no serious confrontations. And except for the occasional exchange of heated words between the sometimes festive protest corps and the stony-faced cops, events were peaceful and by-and-large unobtrusive.

The amount of cop cars downtown New Year’s Eve seemed to vastly outnumber the protesters themselves. 

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