This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Sarah Szilagy, Max Garrison, Owen Milnes, Sam Raudins and Jack Long contributed reporting.
UPDATE: 3:30 p.m.
Protesters on Ohio State’s campus left around 2:13 p.m. University Police Capt. Eric Whiteside, who warned people on the Oval protesters were moving into the campus area, said university police were in the area and monitoring the situation.
UPDATE: 1:55 p.m.
Protesters have marched onto Ohio State’s campus. They are gathered on the Oval and organizers are speaking to the crowd.
UPDATE: 1:42 p.m.
Columbus police have declared a state of emergency in downtown Columbus and are asking all people to vacate the area.
Representative Joyce Beatty (D-OH-3) — whose district Ohio State’s main campus is in — was pepper sprayed while protesting near the Statehouse in downtown Columbus.
“It was just something in my heart, thinking about George Floyd, thinking about all of the injustices that I needed to be out here, thinking I was protecting them,” Beatty said.
UPDATE: 1:07 p.m.
A group of protesters was pepper sprayed in downtown Columbus, Ohio, Saturday. The protesters stood on the street as the police blocked the intersection of High and Broad streets.
The below video below was taken between 12:15 and 12:30 p.m.
UPDATE: 12:35 p.m.
Protesters are being pushed east on East Broad Street and onto sidewalks by horse-mounted police after police fired wooden pellets into the crowd.
UPDATE: 12:29 p.m.
Rep. Joyce Beatty of Ohio’s Third Congressional District was pepper sprayed at the protest and encourage protesters to stay calm in a tweet.
UPDATE: 12:15 p.m.
The protest has grown to a crowd of more than 800 demonstrators.
UPDATE: 12:10 p.m.
SWAT trucks and tear gas are being deployed downtown. A state of emergency has been declared at High and Broad streets with people being ordered to leave the area or be arrested and prosecuted.
Read more below:
Columbus, Ohio, is seeing its third day of protests over the deaths of black Americans who died as a result of police use of force.
Nearly 300 protesters — including Ohio State students — gathered outside of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, Saturday. Marching with signs, they chanted “Black lives matter” and “Who do you protect, who do you serve?”
Saturday follows two days of protests downtown that led to police using pepper spray and tear gas on the previous nights. On Thursday and Friday, police wore riot gear and formed blockades across streets but today, at first, the face shields, riot shields and SWAT trucks were mostly missing, save for a few gas masks.
“This will not be a violent protest. You had Thursday and Friday,” an organizer of today’s protest said to the crowd.
Around 11:45 a.m., some police used pepper spray on protesters who were blocking the intersection of High and Broad streets. Police then blocked off the intersection. Police wearing riot gear walked towards the intersection carrying zip-tie wrist restraints.
Aidan Matzko, a fourth-year in computer science, said he believes what has been happening nationwide is wrong and joined the Saturday protest because it was an organized event.
“I think I’d rather be here when it’s light out. I think it keeps everyone accountable — both the police and the protestors. It’s a safer environment,” Matzko said.
Kelly Hall, a fourth-year in political science, said she attended the protest to show solidarity with the black community.
“I will put my body in front of my black comrades to defend them, and I don’t want any more black lives taken,” Hall said.
Traffic through High Street continues to move as the protesters stay on the sidewalk.
“This is what tired looks like,” the mother of Henry Green, a black man who was killed by two undercover Columbus Police officers in 2016, said as a group of protesters gathered around her.
The police positioned officers on bikes between the protesters and the street to protect the gathering from cars and to keep protesters on the sidewalk, a police officer told an organizer.
Protests began Thursday when demonstrators marched to Broad and High Streets Thursday evening, where they protested the death of George Floyd, 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.
Thursday’s protests ended in violence. Columbus Police deployed officers on horseback, and around 2:00 a.m. some protesters attempted to storm the statehouse and broke windows with their bodies or assorted objects, while others destroyed storefronts and upended trash cans.
The lower windows of the statehouse were boarded up early Friday.
Damaged storefronts include Poke Bros at 100 E. Gay St., Latitude 41 at 50 N. Third St. and the Ohio Theatre at 39 E. State St.
Protesters also damaged bus stops and vehicles
Protesters gathered downtown for the second night of demonstrations Friday to express their frustrations following the death of Floyd and to demand change.
More than 100 protesters marched north through the Short North District after Columbus Police blocked another group near Broad Street where the protest started. The initial crowd began around the Columbus Police department downtown, and after police ordered the crowd to disperse, several groups split up around Broad Street. At least one group moved north but was stopped below Fifth Avenue.
Police used pepper spray, mounted units and shields in attempts to disperse the crowd downtown, and pepper spray was used with the group near Fifth Avenue after a protester threw a glass bottle at police. The majority of the group remains peaceful.
A state of emergency was declared downtown for a second night Friday.
Columbus Police reported Friday night that two arrests had been made, two officers have been injured by protesters throwing rocks and bricks at the police, and some protesters have set off fireworks. The police also report broken windows at businesses in the Short North area.
Seth Towns, an Ohio State men’s basketball player, was detained by Columbus Police Friday at the protest. Towns, who transferred to the university as a graduate student March 21, was a top 10 prospect in the state in the 2016 recruiting class, and he spent four seasons at Harvard. He graduated from Harvard Thursday with a degree in sociology.
Towns was released from police detainment and is “safe and sound,” Town’s mother, Melissa Smitherman, said.