Ohio State Students and Columbus community members gathered on The Oval on Tuesday afternoon to hold a demonstration in response to the death of Tyre King, as well as racial injustice and police brutality.
King was shot and killed by Columbus Division of Police officer Bryan Mason earlier this month after police encountered him while responding to a report of a robbery. Police said King pulled out a BB gun, which officers said they mistook for a real firearm.
About 100 people gathered in front of the statue of William Oxley Thompson, where they shared poetry, songs and prayers.
Alwiyah Shariff, an OSU alumnus and organizer with the Ohio Student Association, said the unrest that lead to the gathering isn’t just limited between the community and the police, but also the community and the government at large.
“People are really disenchanted. F— the parties, pardon my language, but what are we going to do for ourselves and the communities we live in?” Shariff told The Lantern, citing record-high disapproval ratings for presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Those gathered also made a nod to NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has drawn national attention for refusing to stand during the national anthem, in protest against racial injustice. Demonstrators knelt for 13 minutes, while holding a coinciding moment of silence. Each minute was representative of one year of King’s life.
The demonstration was organized by the People’s Justice Project, Columbus People’s Partnership and the Ohio Student Association. Organizers, who were also involved in the protest that shut down a city council meeting on Monday, also shared the list of demands named on Monday.
The demands include reallocating portions of Columbus police funding into community programs, and an independent investigation into the the deaths of King and Henry Green, a 23-year-old shot and killed by Columbus police in June. Both were black.
Shariff said it was important that OSU was the site of the demonstration.
“OSU is a huge part of the city, it has a lot of clout,” Shariff said. “Every movement that has ever happened in history was led by young people. Our demands are for the campus to wake up and really support the community they live in.”
Darnell Dees, a fourth-year in marketing, shared an impromptu prayer with the crowd to close out the gathering.
“I pray that all across Ohio State, You will break down the division,” Dees said.
Dees, who told The Lantern that he came to the demonstration neither to endorse or criticize its message, said he heard about it while participating in a prayer group on The Oval on Monday night, while praying for racial reconciliation, among other things.
“I pray that campus ministries can come together and be a voice for justice,” Dees said.
Dees also added that he is praying for peace.
“I don’t want Columbus to end up like Charlotte,” Dees said of the North Carolina city where protests have erupted over the police killing of Keith Scott, a black resident.