Downtown Resident Suing Cleveland After Being Arrested Selecting Up Groceries Throughout Protest Curfew in Spring

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  • Cleveland Police officers direct traffic away from Lorain Carnegie Bridge during the curfew / scene

Mehdi Mollahasani, a downtown Cleveland resident of the Middle East, filed a civil lawsuit against the City of Cleveland for his arrest on May 31, 2020.

Following the demonstrations and violence during George Floyd’s May 30 protest in Cleveland, Mayor Frank Jackson put a downtown curfew to prevent protesters from gathering again.

The curfew and times were almost immediately criticized as being overland,

According to the ordinance, downtown residents were asked to stay at home except for work or to collect important items.

Mollahasani says in his lawsuit that he did just that – by leaving his residence to get an Instacart command. Instead, according to the suit, he was confronted by Cleveland police officers who “molested him and for no reason accused him of looting”.

Mollahasani hadn’t even participated in the protest the day before, let alone participated in the looting.

Despite the fact that the police presented proof of residence and did nothing more unusual than to collect his groceries, they arrested him.

“Despite following all of the officers’ instructions, Cleveland Police arrested him and had him detained in Cuyahoga County Jail for days during the novel coronavirus pandemic. He was later prosecuted and forced to defend himself.” All charges against him have been dismissed, “Mollahasani’s lawyers at Friedman, Gilbert + Gerhardstein said in a press release.

His arrest was a far cry from the only downtown curfew violation arrest recently ruled problematic by a US District Court judge.

However, this is how the police interpreted it.

Notable among the other arrests was that of Anthony Body, a Bail Project employee, for violating the curfew despite having a court-issued ID and traveling downtown to do his job at the justice center.

About half of the 120 cases were from May 30th have been dropped to this day. About 50 of the remaining cases involve curfew violations. Given the judge’s decision, these are likely to be dropped or result in fines.

“The defendant police officers abused their power in an indescribable way when they arrested Mehdi from the street and threw him for days in the infamous prison in Cuyahoga County for no reason,” said Sarah Gelsomino, partner at Friedman, Gilbert + Gerhardstein. “The city encouraged its police officers to sweep people from the streets into jail to prevent additional protests, regardless of civilians like Mehdi, who were legally under curfew. The city and the defendant officials must be responsible for this manifestly unconstitutional and unreasonable behavior of their officials. ”