Class action lawsuit filed against Ohio Black Lives Matter protesters

CINCINNATI — An Ohio real estate company has filed a class-action lawsuit against 90 people who were arrested during Black Lives Matter protests in Cincinnati that devolved into violence leaving storefronts damaged.

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The lawsuit, filed by Court Street Executives in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court last week, seeks compensation for property damage and theft that occurred during the protests after the death of George Floyd in Minnesota as well as punitive damages, WCPO reported.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of multiple businesses in downtown Cincinnati that were “broken into, looted, vandalized, damaged, defaced, or destroyed.”

The lawsuit also wants to “punish (defendants) for their wrongful conduct and to deter each such defendant from engaging in that conduct in the future.”

Attorney William Blessing is representing Court Street Executive Suites. Blessing’s office is at the building, which he is associated with the ownership of, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

“Those who participated, connived, conspired, tacitly consented to, aided, abetted, ratified, or encouraged the rioting are just as responsible for the injuries and damages as are the specific perpetrators,” Blessing wrote in the lawsuit.

Howard Froelicher, a Navy veteran who was arrested at the demonstration, is the first of the 90 defendants named in the lawsuit.

“The accusation is that I incited it, or a cohort to that, because I was out there peacefully protesting using what I felt like at the time I could do with the movement,” Froelicher told WCPO. “To get allegations and be sued for something like rioting, or a police officer being shot in the head -- that seems belligerent to me based upon I was in jail at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.”

Froelicher was arrested and charged with obstruction and disorderly conduct. He is still waiting to go to court.

“(The plaintiffs) want repercussions for the problems that happened, but you can’t just go charging a group of people for the crimes one person committed,” Froelicher said.

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