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A Melanin Community Activist Sues the Cleveland Police Department in Federal Court, Alleging an Unlawful Arrest!

A Cleveland activist who was arrested for openly carrying weapons on the East Side of the city has sued the city and more than a dozen police officers in federal court. The complaint filed on Monday says that the city broke Antoine Tolbert's civil rights when he was arrested and put in jail overnight on May 23, 2022. In Ohio, open carry of weapons is permitted. As he strolled along St. Clair Avenue, Tolbert carried a shotgun and a pistol in holsters. He is a member of the local activist group New Era Cleveland, which does armed security patrols to stop gun violence. He has also talked to classes of police cadets about how Cleveland police work.

The incident's body camera video reveals that the initial cops on the scene did not arrest the suspect, with one officer stating that an arrest was "a lawsuit waiting to happen." However, when Lance Henderson, a sergeant, arrives, he decides to arrest Tolbert.

Henderson informed an officer on the scene, "He cannot go down the street with a gun in his hand." "Holder is something else. But going along the street while holding a handgun is "You cannot do that."

Initial police reports say that Tolbert was detained for inciting fear and possessing a hidden weapon, but he was subsequently released without formal charges. On the body cam video, you can hear Sgt. Henderson say that one of the charges is illegally handling a handgun, which means carrying a gun in a car.

Tiana Bohanon, Tolbert's attorney, said, "Officers cannot arbitrarily decide to arrest, detain, and transport someone to the county prison simply because they don't like something that they're doing." "He was not carrying a hidden weapon and he was not handling a handgun incorrectly in a motor vehicle."

Tolbert is going to court to get money from the city of Cleveland and the fourteen police officers who were there.

Tolbert lost his new position with the community development group Burten, Bell, and Carr, in addition to spending the night in prison. He also had to move out of his home temporarily because his wife's ex-husband was using a video of what happened to get sole custody of their young child. 



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