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The Glenville Shootout was a series of violent events which occurred in the Glenville section of Cleveland, Ohio, United States, beginning on the evening of July 23 and continuing through July 28, 1968. By the end of the conflict, seven people were killed: 3 policemen, 3 suspects, and 1 civilian. Fifteen others were wounded.
The shootout began on the evening of July 23, in the eastern section of the Glenville neighborhood when two police department tow truck drivers, wearing uniforms similar to those worn by police officers, were shot at in an ambush by heavily armed snipers while checking an abandoned car. Cleveland police officers, who were watching Fred Evans (1928-1978) and his radical militant group, suspected of purchasing illegal weapons, exchanged fire with the militants at this time. It was not clear who fired first. The shootout attracted a large crowd that was mostly black, young, and "hostile". Before the night was over, seven were dead (three of the seven were Cleveland Police officers) and fifteen were wounded. When it became clear that the police were ill-equipped to handle the situation, Mayor Carl B. Stokes asked Governor James A. Rhodes to activate and deploy elements of the Ohio National Guard the following day.
The following day, Stokes decided to remove all the White police officers from Glenville, stationing only African American police officers and community leaders in the predominantly black community, to prevent further rioting and ease tensions in the area. It was the first event in American history in which only African American police officers were sent in to deal with a violent riot or confrontation. While the police and community leaders prevented any more deaths from occurring, there was continued looting and arson throughout the six-square-mile area. On July 25, more police officers and the National Guard entered Glenville and by July 28, order was restored.
Evans surrendered to police on the morning of July 24. He was tried and found guilty of murder and sentenced to death in the electric chair. His term was eventually commuted to life imprisonment, and he died of cancer in 1978. During his trial, it was discovered that Evans had received some $6,000 in funds from Cleveland: Now!, a program Mayor Stokes had initiated to help revitalize Cleveland neighborhoods. Donations for the program subsequently plummeted. Despite this, however, Stokes managed to win reelection for a second term as the city's mayor.