CINCINNATI — City Council passed a motion Wednesday afternoon calling for anti-police brutality protesters to face reduced penalties for violating Cincinnati’s curfew between May 30 and June 8.
Despite the 7-2 vote, City Solicitor Paula Boggs-Muething will get the final decision.
Hundreds of people were arrested in Cincinnat while protesting the Minneapolis death of George Floyd and similar incidents of police brutality across the country. Most of them were arrested overnight on May 30 and May 31 — the first two nights of a city-imposed 8 p.m. curfew. A review of available court records showed 90% of all arrested protesters had been charged with curfew violations.
Council’s motion, which does not have the force of law behind it, encourages the city solicitor to relax penalties for protesters whose sole offense was a curfew violation. The document suggests the city:
- Dismiss the charge in exchange for a written waiver of civil liability.
- Offer a reduced charge of disordlerly conduct, which is a misdemeanor and can be expunged.
- Allow protesters to enter the city’s diversion program, which provides chances for first-time non-violent offenders to have their charges sealed or dismissed if they meet case-by-case conditions for good behavior.
- Develop another kind of reconciliation process with help from Boggs-Muething and Hamilton County public defenders.
Only Democrat David Mann and Republican Betsy Sundermann voted against the motion.
The Cincinnati Police Department, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and a review of county records have each produced different totals for the number of protesters arrested between May 30 and June 8. The highest is 513, the number given by Chief Eliot Isaac. The lowest, 350, reflected the number of cases that had been filed against protesters in Hamilton County courts by Wednesday.