Protests are happening across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death. Cincinnati is no different, and last night saw police firing pepper balls and tear gas into a crowd outside the Hamilton County Courthouse.
This weekend’s protests resulted in over 100 arrests, many of whom were loaded into nearby Metro buses, or police vans and driven to the Hamilton County Justice Center.
This leaves a lot of people questioning, “What should you do if you’re arrested at a protest?”
The short answer is to treat it as if you were arrested for any other charge – keep quiet and contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
No one should have to live with a permeant criminal conviction on their record for exercising their right to be heard and speak about injustice. If you or a loved one are charged with a crime at a Cincinnati or other area protest, contact attorney Brad Groene with Luftman, Heck & Associates at (513) 338-1890.
We’re available 24/7 and offer free consultations. Let us explain what you’re dealing with and help get you home.
Tips for Cincinnati Protests
If you’re going to take part in a demonstration, find out if the action is organized by a group and if it has permits. Find out which spaces are cordoned off, and try to keep an area clear for pedestrians. A lot of confrontation between police and protesters stems from blocking traffic and impeding safety.
In addition, to help avoid confrontations with police, do not carry large, heavy objects that could be perceived as weapons. You should also think ahead and bring your ID and a phone number for legal support. Some organizations partner with legal aid groups like the ACLU, but you should consider a private attorney who will make your rights and release their top priority.
Keep Calm & Be Aware
Make sure you are conscious of your surroundings. Your First Amendment rights are usually protected on public property, but if you end up on private property, you can be arrested for trespassing.
When it comes to interacting with officers, it’s best to keep a clear head and conduct yourself with reason. While you are under no obligation to be polite and some officers may try to incite reactions, the best way to avoid arrest is to sternly, yet calmly state your case without threats.
If an officer makes a lawful request for information or tries to interact with you peaceably, return the gesture. This goes a long way to deescalate tense situations.
In the event that you are confronted by the police and suspect you may be arrested, calmly ask if you’re free to go. If the officer says no, you should calmly comply and avoid resisting, physically or otherwise.
When arrests happen at a protest, there is virtually nothing you can do at the scene. The best place to fight the charges and challenge the officers involved is in court. That means gathering evidence.
If you are injured, request medical attention, and take photos as soon as you can and from multiple angles. Try to keep track of officers’ names and keep any documents relating to your charges.
Need Legal Help after a Protest? Call LHA
The protests in and around downtown Cincinnati should be a wakeup call, but you should not have to live with a conviction for exercising your First Amendment rights. If you were arrested in a protest or plan to attend a demonstration and want legal help ready, an experienced and highly skilled Cincinnati defense lawyer is available.
Call attorney Brad Groene with Luftman, Heck & Associates at (513) 338-1890 24/7.