Ward 1 Cleveland City Councilman Joe Jones was given a traffic citation Oct. 28 for impeding the flow of traffic on Chester Avenue.
The offense was of particular annoyance to the Cleveland Police Officer who stopped Jones not only because the councilman was allegedly slowing down a busy street, but because he was projecting campaign messages for Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden from loudspeakers on his truck.
The 12 minutes of body camera footage, posted to YouTube Monday, captures the interaction between Cleveland Police and Jones. The councilman maintains in the video that his hazard lights were on and that as far as he could tell, traffic was not backed up behind him. The officer claims the opposite, that even while in the curb lane, cars behind Jones were significantly backed up.
Reached by phone, Jones said he had no comment on the incident, other than to say that in general, he might have expected a warning from police for the offense in question, not a ticket.
"It was an enflamed campaign," Jones admitted, when asked if he thought the stop had more to do with the Biden signage and audio than the moving violation. "But the campaign is over."
Jones emphasized that as a Black man, he is on high alert in every interaction with the police. And while he respects Cleveland Police Officers, he said that this situation was like others in the respect that he intentionally "plays it cool," even during instances of what he considers racial profiling or stricter-than-usual enforcement.
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Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...