Court records show some arrested in Cleveland riot used fake addresses

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CLEVELAND (WJW)– The FOX 8 I-Team uncovered new questions about the true identities of people arrested for rioting and breaking curfew in downtown Cleveland. We found the addresses some gave are bogus.

We’ve reported investigators said they believe the rioting was organized and Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said he believes many people from out of town were involved.

But court records for those arrested show mainly Northeast Ohio addresses. Yet, when we went to some of those addresses for suspects, we found some addresses didn’t exist and more.

On the west side, we met Keith Sowden, a landlord. He said he’d never heard of a man arrested for throwing rocks and bottles at police, and now using an address for Sowden’s property. He was taken aback to find somebody using his address after taking part in the rioting.

A ticket for a curfew violation shows a street in Cleveland called “Vancroft,” although it doesn’t exist. Another person gave an address on East 101st Street. We searched and then a police dispatcher told us that residence does not exist either.

Our findings are aggravating to Bobby George, a businessman who says four restaurants he owns got damaged in the unrest.

“I don’t think I’ll get justice,” he said. He said he hired his own private investigators.

George added he believes Cleveland City Hall showed “weak leadership” and he doesn’t trust the city administration.

So what about checks and balances in the justice system to catch a suspect giving a bad address? Cleveland Municipal Court said this time workers did not get to do as much background checking as usual. So many cases came in quickly. Court workers can’t get into the jail these days because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Cuyahoga County Jail also does background checks before suspects are released. But somehow, the identities of some rioters has remained a mystery.

The landlord we met referred to the person in the home at the back of his property, and he repeated his tenant is not the suspected rioter.

“There’s only one person back there now, and that’s not him,” Snowden said.

Many of those arrested in the disturbance were released from jail while waiting for court dates.

We’re watching to see how many suspects show up, especially in light of more mystery about them.

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