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ACLU Sues Cleveland Over Protester Arrests Following Officer's Acquittal

The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the city of Cleveland on behalf four people arrested during protests following the acquittal of a Cleveland police officer on voluntary manslaughter charges. The organization says the lawsuit has big implications for the next 18 months.

The lawsuit maintains the city has acknowledged it jailed 70 people for two days to prevent them from rejoining the protests – something it feared could disrupt the Cavs playoff game on that Memorial Day weekend. 

But the lawsuit also challenges the arrests themselves. It says it’s unclear that police ordered the group of as many as 100 protesters to disperse or gave them a chance or a way to comply if, in fact, such an order was given. Christine Link of the Ohio ACLU says it is important to get this resolved now before other events including the Republican National Convention unfold.

“Our interest is kind of this river that runs from now through 2016. There will be a lot of protests and there will be a lot of protests that are at times inconvenient or don’t fit the narrative that the city wants to present,” Link said. 

The city says it does not comment on pending litigation.