#Cleveland Police are intentionally using LegalObserver colors to confuse protesters!
Sue Udry , May 17, 2015, In : InTheStreets
Cleveland is tense in anticipation of a verdict in the high-profile trial of Michael Brelo, the police officer who fired 49 shots (out of 137 total shots) into a vehicle killing Malissa Williams and Timothy Russell in November 2012.
The city government is actively recruiting community volunteers as part of a “rapid-response strategy” in anticipation of protests. Volunteers will play one of two roles: (1) serving as “Marshals” or (2) serving as volunteers who report information to designated “Marshals.” According to the Ohio National Lawyers Guild (NLG), volunteers and Marshals alike are allegedly tasked with identifying “agitators” and are to report rumors of unrest or disorder in neighborhoods and during protests. Information gathered by Marshals will be reported directly to the Cleveland Division of Police (CPD).
The city has even chosen a color scheme for their rapid response strategy. Curiously, it’s the same color recognized by protesters across the country and in Cleveland as identifying members of the National Lawyers Guild: lime green. Of course, NGL members are at protests to protect the rights of protesters, not report “agitators.”
In a press release headlined “Lime-Green Identifiers May Cause Confusion,” the Ohio Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (Ohio NLG) sought to clarify the situation that the city seemed to intentionally muddy with their choice of color. The NLG is present at protests through its Legal Observer® program, which is part of a comprehensive system of legal support designed to enable people to express their political views as fully as possible without unconstitutional interference. Legal Observers® are not protesters, but instead are third parties engaged in objective observation. Unlike the City’s volunteers and Marshals, NLG Legal Observers® do not report to, work with, or negotiate with law enforcement or government officials.
NLG Legal Observers® have been identifiable by lime green accessories, including hats and armbands featuring the NLG logo, since the program’s inception in 1968
Marshals, volunteers, or other members of the City’s rapid response teams are potentially agents of the CPD and the City of Cleveland, the Ohio NLG warned, as it urged the City, the CPD, and rapid response team members to respect the constitutional rights of all activists.