A grieving Black family in Ohio held a gathering to celebrate the life of 23-year-old Charles Pierre-Louis—who died in a car crash after allegedly leading state troopers on a high-speed chase on August 27.
Tameka Cheers, the victim’s mother, told reporters:
“My baby’s gone and he’s never coming back.”
Over 100 family members and friends gathered at a home near West 11th Street and Brownell Avenue after Tuesday’s funeral service.
Everything was fine until Lorain police responding to noise complaints showed up with tasers, guns drawn and even police dogs.
Lorain police are calling it a riot, but grieving family says it was a funeral gathering https://t.co/jypmWqH2Ep
— News 5 Cleveland (@WEWS) September 9, 2020
Cheers was furious and disheartened with the way police handled the situation.
“It just hurts me that they had to come and react the way that they reacted when all we were doing was celebrating his life.”
“Just because you see a bunch of Black children and family members and elders don’t mean it’s a problem.”
“We were celebrating my son’s journey through this life.”
You can watch the News 5 Cleveland report in the video clip below.
According to the police, the mourners out on the front lawn and in the streets were mostly cooperative when asked to leave the area or go back inside the home.
But after a small number of attendees failed to comply with orders, police responded to a situation they are now calling a “riot.”
This hurts… I grew up with Fubu and see this happen to his family crushes me. Your life will be properly celebrated bro 🙏🏼❤️https://t.co/UfXVqJtzdl
— Reid Burke (@_reidburke) September 10, 2020
News5 Cleveland said that, according to the Lorain police report, family and friends of Pierre-Louis had been gathering every night since his death.
They added that on several occasions, the crowds exceeded 100 people “in the streets until the early morning hours.”
Police also added there had been “previous calls and arrests, all associated with the deceased’s family members, due to physical disturbances and shots fired.”
One report said that the officers responding to noise complaints arrived at the scene and described it as being “immediately chaotic.”
Five people were arrested which prompted several officers to use force.
One more for the list. No mourning while black.https://t.co/ckC0TtH98D
— Moira Mockingbird ✍️ (@TheAngryTauren) September 11, 2020
One neighbor who was home on the night of the incident told News5 their account:
“I did see family members and people of my neighborhood that were trying to have peace.”
“But other people were starting to feud, there were fights in the street, there were people arguing.”
The grieving mother expressed her disappointment towards the officers.
“I don’t hate the police, but I don’t care for them because they’re supposed to protect and serve, ya’ll didn’t do that last night.”
News5 did not hear back from Lorain Police after asking for an interview. They also added that the department does not wear body cameras.