On July 6, Cincinnati's Mass Defense Coalition — a group that includes the Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, Beloved Community Church, the ACLU of Ohio, the Cincinnati Chapter of All of Us or None, the Ohio Justice and Policy Center, the Pretrial Justice Institute, the Hamilton County Public Defender's Office and more than 15 attorneys — filed a motion to dismiss the charges against the more than 500 Cincinnatians who were arrested while protesting the murder of George Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of police.
The coalition's legal team will be serving the City Prosecutor's Office with the motions today, says a release.
The coalition says those 500 citizens were unjustly arrested, detained and charged.
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.
The coalition says the issue is that by not dismissing the charges, those who were exercising their First Amendment rights will now have a criminal record that could impact areas of their lives and livelihoods for years to come.
At 3 p.m., the coalition will be on the steps of Cincinnati City Hall (801 Plum St., Downtown) for a press conference and to launch a Drop the Charges Campaign rally.
But before that, a Drop the Charges march will step off from the Hamilton County Courthouse (1000 Main St., Downtown) at 2 p.m.
If you cannot make the rally and march — or can but want to do something in addition to that — Beloved Community Church also has a Drop the Charges petition to sign at belovedcommunitychurch.com.