After three days of protests following the death of George Floyd and other black Americans that caused nationwide outrage, the Ohio National Guard will work with Columbus Police tonight to restore order downtown and enforce a 10 p.m. curfew.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced at a Saturday press conference that he is activating the Ohio National Guard to “protect the citizens of the state of Ohio.” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announced a citywide curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. that will be in effect until further notice.
More than 100 offices and businesses have been damaged and five police officers have been injured as a result of the protests, Ginther said.
“Each day, the protests have escalated from peaceful to antagonistic to violent,” Ginther said.
Columbus Police said in a tweet that all city streets in the downtown area have been closed indefinitely and that employees working in the area should be prepared to show identification to officers.
HAPPENING NOW 5/30/20 5:50pm:
-All city streets in downtown are closed indefinitely.
-If you have to work downtown be sure to show an ID.
-The city curfew begins run from 10pm – 6am.
— Columbus Ohio Police (@ColumbusPolice) May 30, 2020
Protests began Thursday when demonstrators marched to Broad and High Streets Thursday evening, where they protested the death of Floyd, a black man who died Monday after being arrested by police for allegedly trying to use a counterfeit bill.
A viral video circulated of the arrest, which showed a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, with his knee on Floyd’s neck pinning him to the ground for several minutes. The video captured Floyd pleading with Chauvin saying, “I can’t breathe,” and he later died at the hospital.
The protest in Columbus is one of many that have been organized nationwide following Floyd’s death, including Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Denver and Memphis, Texas, demanding Chauvin and the three responding officers involved — who have all been fired — be charged for Floyd’s death.
DeWine said that although the majority of protesters have been peaceful, a few are responsible for escalating the demonstrations.
“Sadly, here is a relatively small number of violent individuals who post a specific threat and a real threat to our law enforcement officers and to the safety of the people of Columbus and Franklin county,” DeWine said.
Maj. Gen. John. C. Harris Jr. said the National Guard is ready to be called to service.
“On behalf of the almost 17,000 men and women of the Ohio National Guard, we accept this challenge to supplement the police force of Columbus,” Harris said.