Cleveland Dispatcher Accused Of Calling Black Lives Matter ‘Terrorist Organization’ On Facebook, As Police Complaints Double In June

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Civilian complaints against Cleveland police officers and employees have doubled so far in June, including one complaint against a dispatcher accused of calling the Black Lives Matter activist group “a terrorists organization” in a Facebook post.

The increase in complaints coincides with widespread protests, pushing to end police violence against Black residents after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Office of Professional Standards manager Roger Smith said Thursday that his office, which receives and investigates non-criminal civilian complaints against police employees, received 40 complaints so far in June, including 13 related to the May 30 protest in downtown Cleveland, which resulted in several injuries to protesters and police officers.

Since 2017, Smith said his office averages between 19 and 20 complaints per month, including 220 in all of 2019.

“Forty complaints are more than unusual,” Smith said. “Before the end of the month that will probably change even more. We’ve getting one or two more every day.”

Cleveland police officials have not released the number of investigations launched into the handling of the downtown protests, nor how many officers are under investigation. Police officials met Thursday to discuss the issue.

Smith said the 27 non-protest related complaints range from unprofessional conduct to improper stops and searches.

Eleven complaints released to via a public records request show complaints about the protest ranging from the department’s firing pepper-pellets, tear gas and other munitions into the crowd of some 3,000 people, to specific complaints about officers.

The protest organized by Black Lives Matter started peacefully, until police and protesters clashed in front of the Justice Center. Dozens of downtown businesses were later destroyed, damaged or looted.

Two complaints filed with OPS are against officer John Kazimer, who is also under investigation by the internal affairs unit after a video surfaced that showed he hit a peaceful protester with a baton.

A homeless woman also filed a complaint and said she was arrested for violating the curfew Mayor Frank Jackson imposed the night of the protest. She said her phone’s battery was dead and was unaware of the curfew restriction. She wrote in the complaint that she spent three days in jail and was in danger of losing her job.

Another was filed against dispatcher Lisa Blevins, according to records and confirmed by Smith. A woman from California filed the complaint and attached screenshots of a Facebook post in which Blevins said “Black Lives Matter is nothing more than a TERRORIST organization,” according to the records.

The Facebook post begins by saying: “Look at what they’ve done to our city! Those uncivilized urban terrorists destroyed historical landmarks, businesses, our theater district and city vehicles.”

In the post, she said she felt sorry for Floyd’s family because the message of equality and police brutality would likely be lost because of the riots.

“Black Lives Matter is nothing more than a TERRORIST organization!,” the post continues. “The bigoted hatred toward law enforcement (my friends, my family) is something I’ll never forget. Black Lives Matter doesn’t care about Black Lives or Mr. Floyd, they only care about dividing us as a country. Remember the KKK and slavery was the party of Democrats and if you are too ignorant to see that Black Lives Matter is just a sheep in wolves clothing and what they are continuing to do to the black communities shame on you.”

Cleveland Police spokeswoman Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia said she was not aware of the posts. Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association President Jeff Follmer said anything posted on Facebook should be considered protected speech under the First Amendment.