The Ohio National Guard is alerting soldiers to report to duty in preparation for potential riots following the trial of Cleveland, Ohio, police officer Michael Brelo, according to an insider.
At least one National Guard company was ordered to report to home station on May 17 with 72-hour bags because the verdict for Brelo, accused of manslaughter for shooting two unarmed black suspects, is expected on May 18 or 19, said the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
A Cleveland resident also tweeted that she saw police driving around with “riot shields sticking out of their trunks” in anticipation of the Brelo decision.
#cleveland police driving around with riot shields sticking out of their trunk. Anticipating Michael Brelo decision.
— Liz Tracey (@liztracey) May 14, 2015
And an Ohio native shot a video of a train transporting military vehicles heading toward Cleveland.
“A girl on Facebook posted a photo of the riot gear her father received from the Cleveland Police Dept.,” another Cleveland resident tweeted. “It truly amazes me that Cleveland is armed for a riot that hasn’t even started yet.”
A few weeks ago, ABC 5 Cleveland reported that area police departments were buying up riot gear, bulletproof vests and other safety equipment.
“We are getting more calls with everything that’s going on in the country, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” the sales manager for a police uniform supplier, Brandon Demarco, said.
Brelo was charged with two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the Nov. 29, 2012 deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams who were both gunned down in a barrage of 137 shots fired by 13 Cleveland officers.
Hank Davis, a former gang member who now works with at-risk youth, heard that out-of-town agitators have already arrived in Cleveland and are pressuring residents to riot after the verdict.
“We’ve been seeing some things… turn up… burn… they’re suggesting similar things that have happened… we’ve seen on television,” he said to WKYC, likely referring to the recent riots in Balitmore, Md., and Ferguson, Mo.