Ohio Officer Caught On Video Flipping Off Black Lives Matter Protesters

By Kelly Fisher

September 30, 2020

The Shaker Heights Police Department confirmed Wednesday (September 30) that it is investigating after one of its officers allegedly made “an obscene gesture” to a group of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters.

The officer, who was placed on leave Wednesday afternoon, was driving a security vehicle ahead of the debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden in Cleveland on Tuesday (September 29), the department tweeted Wednesday morning.

“Last night a Shaker Heights police officer driving a security vehicle as part of the Presidential debate detail is reported to have made an obscene gesture to a group of protestors. An investigation is underway,” the tweet reads.

Authorities have said demonstrators remained “mostly lawful and peaceful,” with only four arrested. Officers prepped for demonstrations ahead of Tuesday's debate, including with barricades and calling in the Ohio National Guard.

Cleveland.com reporter Robin Goist recorded a video of the officer allegedly flipping off a group of protesters who demonstrated peacefully. She tweeted the video and a still shot showing the apparent middle finger.

She directed viewers to the driver of the van in the brief video. It’s the third of four law enforcement vehicles to drive by the protesters.

Black Lives Matter Cleveland and Black Spring Cleveland organized the protests and drew hundreds, the publication reported.

Shaker Heights Police Commander John Cole told cleveland.com that the officer was placed on leave, though he did not provide the outlet a reason for withholding the officer's name. He said the findings of the investigation will be made public.

The department “unequivocally supports the right of Black Lives Matter and all demonstrators to peacefully protest," a statement reads. “We are committed to confronting and rooting out unprofessional and inappropriate behavior within our department, and pledge to move as swiftly as possible in this case. We recognize that behavior such as this damages relationships that we have worked hard to build.”

Photo: Getty Images

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