“O-H-I-O! Police brutality has got to go,” chanted a crowd of protesters remembering the life of 13-year-old Tyre King as they marched through The Oval on Monday evening.
King, who died two weeks ago, was shot and killed by Columbus Division of Police officer Bryan Mason after police said King pulled a BB gun from his waistband, which officers said they mistook for a firearm.
OSU Coalition for Black Liberation, an OSU student organization, coordinated the event in an effort to bring attention to other black lives lost as well.
The march began outside the Neil Avenue entrance of Thompson Library and proceeded through it and onto The Oval.
The protesters then moved towards the Wexner Center for the Arts plaza and continued into the street, blocking the intersection of East 15th Avenue and North High Street for 13 minutes, one minute for each year of King’s life.
“We can’t just mourn and let it go. It’s important that we hold his name and we continue to organize around his name. It’s important that we hold the cops mother-f—ing accountable,” Maryam Abidi, a fourth-year in women’s, gender and sexuality studies and strategic communication who helped organize the protest, told The Lantern.
The protest ended in the Ohio Union after a “die-in,” in which participants lied down on the floor of the Union for 13 minutes, once again in remembrance of King’s life. The march lasted approximately two hours starting at 5:15 p.m. and ending at 7 p.m.
Police liaisons within the coalition met with University Police prior to Monday’s event to discuss the route of the march and were present to communicate with police. However, some aspects of the route changed as the event went on, including the entrance into the High Street intersection, which was unknown to the liaisons prior.
“I’m happy that the (OSU) police — they contacted us saying that they wanted to keep people safe, and I feel like things went along smoothly,” said Pranav Jani, a police liaison and English professor.
The university also felt confident in the way the protest was handled.
“Civic engagement and free expression are central to the values of the university. Ohio State worked with the protest leaders, their faculty advisors and community partners to ensure the protesters were able to safely exercise their right of free expression on our campus while minimizing disruption,” read a statement from OSU spokesman Chris Davey.
One of the coalition’s main goals for the evening was to bring recognition to King’s life and name.
“I don’t know if everyone in this building knew Tyre King’s name,” Abidi said. “I don’t know if everyone on that street knew Tyre King’s name, but if anything happened today I hope they learned his name, and I hope they look him up, and I hope they look at the pictures his family released.”
Another call to action — in response to the killing of King and others, including Henry Green who was shot and killed by Columbus Police officers not in uniform — took place at Columbus City Hall this evening, where demonstrators brought a city council meeting to a standstill with a protest.