Cleveland Movement Law

RNC Jail & Arrestee Support Resources

Jail Support

Has a friend or loved one been arrested? Call our jail support hotline to locate them.

Jail Support Hotline:

(216) 5050-NLG (654)

This number is not toll-free and does not accept collect calls.

For Collect Calls Only:

(216) 496-6819

Use this number from jails, such as the House of Corrections, that only allow collect calls.

The Ohio NLG RNC legal and jail support office is monitoring arrests as they occur and tracking arrestees through the system. All currently available information about arrestees can be obtained by calling our jail support hotline above. Please call our hotline immediately if you have any information concerning arrests or arrestees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where were they taken?

Those arrested in Cleveland are usually taken to Cleveland City Jail [phone: (216) 623-5380] located in the Justice Center at 1300 Ontario Street. For the RNC, Cleveland has contracted with Cuyahoga County (also located within the Justice Center), Geauga County, and Summit County jails to house additional arrestees. There is also the possibility that arrestees will be held at various Cleveland Division of Police District stations, the House of Corrections (the “Workhouse”), or the Oriana House (Judge Nancy McDonnell Community Based Correctional Facility).

How do I locate them?

All currently available information about arrestees can be obtained by calling our jail support hotline at (216) 5050-NLG (654).

Keep in mind that in the event of mass arrests, arrestees will likely be sitting in police vans, busses, etc for several hours and will not be immediately transported to the jail for processing and phone calls. Check in with our jail support hotline and stay by your phone in case they call you.

To contact Cleveland Municipal Jail booking (via the Cleveland Clerk of Courts Office) directly, call (216) 664-4790. This number is operational 24/7. To contact Cuyahoga County Jail booking directly, call (216) 443-7000. This number is staffed Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 4:30pm.

When will they be released?

Generally, arrestees must be processed within 48 hours or within a “reasonable amount of time” of their arrest. Cleveland Municipal Court has cleared their dockets and extended their hours from 8:30am to 4:30pm and 5:00am to 1:00am in order to speed up the processing of RNC arrestees. However, processing time still depends on how quickly the police and prosecutors complete the arrestees’ charging paperwork.

Please notify us if arrestees are being held for longer than 48 hours. Upon being retained by the arrestees, we may be able fight in court to have them released.

How do I post bail for someone?

To obtain a Cleveland Municipal Court bond directly, visit the 2nd floor of the Justice Center at 1200 Ontario Street [phone: (216) 664-4790]. Bonds can be posted 24 hours a day with cash or a credit card (Visa, Mastercard, and Discover). No checks. Photo ID is required for posting.

It may still take several hours after bond is posted for a person to be processed for release, especially if a mass arrest occured.

My friend/love one has a medical condition & needs their medication. How do I make sure they get it/get it to them?

Call us as soon as possible with their legal name, date of their arrest, the jail they’re being housed at (if known), and information about their medication. It is extremely helpful if you are able to provide a physical copy of their prescription.

We are dispatching local attorneys to the jails as arrests occur and are prioritizing those with medical and/or safety concerns.

My friend/loved one was arrested. What's going to happen next?

After arrest, people may end up in:

  • Temporary detention (low-level allegations/charges for non-violent offenses): They will be processed and then, while detained, notified of their charges and have their bond set (according to a pre-determined bond schedule). Bond will either be money bond (must pay to be released) or personal bond (no payment, but there may be other conditions for released). After they are given charging paperwork and their bond is set (and paid), they will be released and issued a summons to appear in court later that day or the next day for arraignment. If a not guilty please is entered, they will have to continue to return to court until their case is resolved.

  • Longer detention (more serious allegations/charges, such as violence or propery damage): They will be processed and then, straight from jail informed of their charges and taken to court for arraignment. Bond, either be money bond (must pay to be released) or personal bond (no payment, but there may be other conditions for released), will also be set. If a not guilty please is entered, they will have to continue to return to court until their case is resolved.

NLG/NAACP/partner attorneys will be present at court and available – UPON REQUEST – to represent people at arraignment/bond hearings. Individuals MUST specifically ask for an NLG/NAACP/partner attorney in order for us to make an appearance in court. If they cannot afford an attorney and do not request us, they will be assigned a public defender. Individuals may also retain their own counsel.

I think my friend/loved one is being housed in an inappropriately gendered facility. What can I do?

Call us as soon as possible with their legal name, date of arrest, & the jail they’re being housed at (if known).

We are sending attorneys down to the jails for client visits as arrests occur and are prioritizing those with medical and/or safety concerns.

I have video/photos or physical evidence of police misconduct/mass arrest/etc, what do I do with it?

Write down the date/time/location of collection and call our hotline at (216) 5050-NlG (654) to let us know! We may want to collect it immediately or we may need you to hold on to it for awhile.

Avoid handling physical evidence as much as possible. Place it in a labeled (date/time/location of collection) ziplock bag until we are able to collect it.

Is there a bail fund? What if we can't afford to bail them out?

Information on a possible bail fund will be available shortly.

How do I get them an attorney for their arraignment?

Make sure that they specifically request a NLG/NAACP/partner attorneys before their arraignment or bond hearing.

We will be present at court and available – UPON REQUEST – to represent people at arraignment/bond hearings. Individuals MUST specifically ask for an NLG/NAACP/partner attorney in order for us to make an appearance in court. If they cannot afford an attorney and do not request us, they will be assigned a public defender. Individuals may also retain their own counsel.

Arrestee Support

Arrested demonstrating in Cleveland? Call our jail support hotline for help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I go back out to protest?

Sort of. A judge can’t prevent you from exercising your constitutional rights; however, you are required to comply with the terms of your bond which may include a stay away order from certain people or property. Also, while an additional arrest technically won’t influence your original charges, your bail may be set higher or with more strigent conditions for subsequent arrests.

How do I get my stuff back?

Personal property may be retrieved by the owner at the first floor security desk at the Justice Center between 8am and 7pm. The owner must present a valid ID and their property bag receipt. All belongings must be retrieved within 90 days.

What if I'm not a citizen and/or undocumented?

Call us for assistance finding an experienced immigration attorney. It is extremely important that you do not answer any questions about your immigration status, enter into a plea agreement, or sign anything without speaking to an experienced immigration attorney first! A conviction for a “crime involving moral turpitude” can land a non-citizen in removal proceedings, or jeopardize their chances of receiving a green card or of obtaining citizenship. If you’re on a student visa, a violation of your university’s code of conduct that leads to your explusion will also result in the revocation of your visa.

I'm from out of town, do I have to attend my court date(s)?

Call us at (216) 5050-NLG (654) as soon as possible before leaving town to discuss your options.

I need an attorney!

The Ohio NLG, the Cleveland NAACP, & partners are working to provide legal representation for as many arrestees as possible. However, if large-scale mass arrests occur, we may not be able to provide or find representation for everyone. Call our hotline (216-505-0654) as soon as possible upon release to report your arrest and we’ll do what we can!

If you cannot afford an attorney, you may also qualify for a public defender. The Cuyahoga County Public Defender can be reached at (216) 443-7223.

I was released on bond, what does that mean?

Bond is designed to guarantee your attendence at all scheduled court dates. If you fail to appear for a court appearance, the judge will issue a warrant (known as a “capias”) for your arrest and may send a bondsman or a deputy sheriff out to arrest you. Once the capias is issued, any contact you have with law enforcement could result in your arrest.

Make sure the the courts have your correct address and let us know if you require assistance getting to or from your court dates.

My rights were violated! How do I file a complaint?

You can file an official complaint against a member of the Cleveland Division of Police by filling out this form. Hardcopies are available at the Cleveland Department of Police Headquarters, all five Cleveland Department of Police District Stations, and the Mayor’s Action Center in City Hall (room 228).

Completed forms must be mailed or hand-delivered to the Office of Professional Standards and Civilian Police Review Board (phone: 216-664-2944) located at 205 W. St. Clair Avenue (room 301). Complaints are accepted from 8:30am to 4:00pm. Free parking is available at the 55 Public Square parking garbage. Bring your parking receipt to the office for validation.

During the RNC (Monday, July 18th through Thursday, July 21st), the Office will operate from the Department of Public Safety in City Hall (room 230) from 9:00am-7:00pm with additional extended hours if necessary. Parking in the Willard Garage will be available for those filing complaints.

Know Your Rights

Your basics when it comes to protesting in Cleveland.

This FAQ is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice!

Frequently Asked Questions

What if a law enforcement officer asks me a question?

  • You are never obligated to answer any questions.
  • However, Ohio law requires you to identify yourself if:
    • You are suspected of a crime; or
    • You are a witness to a felony.
  • Loudly & clearly ask, “Am I legally required to identify myself?
  • If the answer is yes, only then are you obligated provide:
    • Your legal name, date of birth, and address
    • If you refuse to identify yourself in those situations, you can be arrested.
  • You are not required to give a statement about anything that you witnessed or are suspected of.

What if I am stopped by law enforcement?

  • Stay calm and ask “Am I being detained?
    • If the answer is no, ask “Am I free to leave?
      • If the answer is no, you are being detained.
      • If the answer is yes, you are free to disengage & leave.
    • If the answer is yes, you must stay but are not obligated to answer any questions.
  • Loudly & clearly state, “I am going to remain silent” and then remain completely silent - even if officers continue to speak to you.
    • If you begin to speak for any reason, you must verbally reinvoke your right to remain silent.
  • Be aware that law enforcement can lie to you to coerce you into speaking.

What if law enforcement ask to search my belongings?

  • You are never required to consent to a search.
    • Loudly & clearly state, “I do not consent to any searches” but do not attempt to phsyically resist or interfere with the officer’s actions.
  • However:
    • If law enforcement have probable cause to conduct the search, they do not need to ask your permission.
    • If you are being detained, officers may conduct a brief over-the-clothing pat down (commonly known as a “frisk”) that does not require you to empty your pockets or open your bags.
    • If you are under arrest, officers can search you all the way down to your skin as well as conduct an administrative inventory of your belongings.

Am I allowed to record law enforcement?

  • It is legal to record law enforcement performing their official duties in public in all fifty states.
    • However, you may not obstruct or interfere with the performance of their duties or ignore orders to disperse.
  • Absent a valid search warrant, you are not required to hand over your camera or to show officers your footage. You are also never obligated to answer questions about what or why you’re recording.
  • If you have footage of police brutality, the safest thing to do with such footage is to make the victim and their attorney (if any) aware of it.
    • Never document anything that could even remotely be construed by a prosecutor, jury, or the public as resisting arrest or assault on an officer.
    • Immediately uploading footage to the Internet can have unintended negative repercussions, such as being used as evidence against the victim of police brutality.

Do they have to warn us before making an arrest?

It depends. Under the City’s new mass arrest dispersal order, officers must warn demonstrators three times and identify exit routes prior to mass arresting people. However, this only applies to mass arrests for unlawful assembly and may not apply in all other circumstances.

Where am I allowed to protest during the RNC?

  • Generally, sidewalks and parks are considered public forums for free speech activity and do not require a permit unless they involve a large amount of people or the coordination of city-provided services.
  • Permits are generally required for demonstrations that take place in the street, block vehicular or pedestrian traffic, require the coordination of city services, or involve amplified sound.
    • If an impromptu demonstration is planned as a result of unfolding events, organizers are required to notify the Cleveland Division of Police eight hours in advance by calling Field Operations at (216) 623-5011.
  • Free speech and assembly rights are greatly restricted within the RNC event zone.

Resources

Updates

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Arrestee Updates

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