Protesters move north on North High Street Monday, the fifth night of protests in Columbus, Ohio. Credit: Max Garrison | Asst. Campus Editor

A peaceful protest turned chaotic less than 25 minutes into the citywide curfew when police used pepper spray to clear protesters out of the intersection at Lane Avenue and North High Street.

The protest, which included more than 200 demonstrators, had walked from the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, north along High Street, passing through the Ohio State’s campus as the curfew went into effect. No police were present at the time.

When the group reached the intersection at Lane Avenue, police moved in from behind. Officers walked alongside police cruisers and entered the crowd and used pepper spray to break up the demonstration, which sent people running north on High Street and in both directions on Lane Avenue. 

The confrontation marked the fifth day of protests in Columbus, which started after the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd at the hands of police. Floyd’s death was ruled a homicide Monday by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office.

Protests that started in Minneapolis spread across the country, including to Columbus, by Thursday. The protests start peacefully but often escalate into violence. 

Monday’s march started downtown at the Ohio Statehouse after a peaceful demonstration that included protesters and police joining together. 

Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan was with the march when it began to move north but he was no longer present by the time it got to the campus area.