The full Cincinnati City Council has approved a motion asking the city solicitor's office to offer options to those arrested for violating the city's recent curfew.
It would only impact people who were peacefully protesting and were only charged with "misconduct at an emergency," or a curfew violation. Those facing other charges would not be impacted by this motion.
Council voted 7-2 in favor of the motion with Council members David Mann and Betsy Sundermann casting the "no" votes.
On a case-by-case basis, the city solicitor is being asked to offer the following options to those charged with curfew violations:
- Offers dismissal with immediate order of expungement of misconduct at an emergency charge in exchange for a voluntary, written waiver of civil liability
- Offer a reduced charge of disorderly conduct-minor misdemeanor and will indicate to the court that the city has no objection to immediate expungement, and waiver of city fine
- Offer entry into the city's diversion program for curfew violations, in which an offender enters a plea of guilty to misconduct at an emergency, completes 30 days in which the offender is not arrested, and upon successful completion of 30 days without arrest the charge is dismissed
- Offer a reconciliation process to be developed and mutually agreed upon by the city solicitor's office and the Hamilton County public defender's office
The motion was a compromise. The original measure from four council members wanted the charges dropped against all those charged with only curfew violations.
Mayor John Cranley praised the modified motion.
"It is clearly the case that our successors may have a pandemic, they may have other reasons for curfews in the future," Cranley said. "And there has to be the ability to enforce those curfews."
Cranley said it was always the intent to negotiate as fairly as possible with those charged with curfew violations.
The city solicitor will have the final determination of how the cases are handled. A council motion is not a measure that city administrators must follow. It's only a document that expresses council's thoughts or policy recommendations.
More than 500 people were arrested in Cincinnati during protests for George Floyd, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.