90 sued for damage done during George Floyd protests

Lawsuit filed after damage done to Downtown businesses during protest
Updated: Oct. 16, 2020 at 10:04 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A lawyer representing a Downtown Cincinnati real-estate company is suing 90 people it says are responsible for damage to businesses during the George Floyd protests in the early summer.

The protests of late May and early June were largely peaceful but at points devolved into vandalism throughout Downtown and Over-the-Rhine.

Residents woke in those neighborhoods May 30 to find shattered windows, upturned planters and glass littering sidewalks.

The suit seeks to represent the class of businesses “looted, vandalized, broken into, damaged, defaced or destroyed” in the West End, Clifton Heights, University Heights and Fairview as well as Downtown Cincinnati and Over-the-Rhine.

Bill Blessing is the attorney who filed the lawsuit. He says the firm came up with the list of 90 defendants based on arrest records.

“There may be additional defendants added,” he told FOX19 NOW Friday. “We haven’t gone through all the tv footage.”

PHOTOS: Protests leave path of damage through Over-the-Rhine

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports 49 people named in the suit were charged with misconduct during an emergency after being arrested. An additional 12 were charged with failure to disperse. Two were charged with rioting, though charges were later dropped against one of them.

Blessing says everyone named in the suit aided and abetted the people who caused the damage, even if they didn’t cause the damage themselves.

FOX19 NOW legal expert Mark Krumbein says the lawsuit faces an uphill battle.

“If [Blessing] couldn’t prove that connection, then he wouldn’t meet the burden of proof, and the lawsuit would fail,” Krumbein said. “I think the odds are against them being successful with the lawsuit and the odds are doubly bad that they could ever collect on anything.”

Blessing says the suit could recover damages in the form of insurance coverage.

The case will likely take months, perhaps years, Blessing says.

The first court date will be in December.

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