Ohio cities extend curfews following protests

By John Seewer - Associated Press

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s largest cities cleaned up Monday from a weekend of violent protests, with some extending emergency curfews over the next few days.

Cleveland’s decision to continue its curfew two more days created confusion Monday morning, with downtown freeway exit ramps and streets blocked to traffic. Commuters weren’t allowed past roadblocks, backing up traffic on freeways.

Mayor Frank Jackson’s order, issued Sunday, had said the downtown area was off limits to everyone except those who live or work there and people going to medical appointments.

Gov. Mike DeWine had called out the National Guard and highway patrol Saturday to help enforce laws in Cleveland and Columbus, where the mayors said more than 100 properties were damaged.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said Monday the city’s curfew during evening hours will continue indefinitely.

In Cincinnati, a nighttime curfew was extended through Monday. More than 100 people were arrested Sunday during protests sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minnesota. Floyd, a black man in handcuffs, died after a white officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes, even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.

Protests also erupted over the weekend in Toledo, Akron, Dayton and smaller cities. The damage across the state was still being tallied.

By Monday, most of the debris and broken glass in downtown Cleveland had been cleaned up. Among the few people on the streets were workers boarding up windows that had not been damaged.

A crew used a power washer to clean graffiti from the county courthouse, which was closed to the public. Several departments in the building had been scheduled to reopen Monday for the first time since they were closed in March because of the coronavirus crisis.

It was eerily quiet even during the lunch hour as most businesses were closed.

Cleveland fire officials said four police cruisers were torched and a fire truck and an ambulance were damaged. First responders were injured, none seriously, officials said.

While the weekend demonstrations were centered in Ohio’s larger downtowns, some spilled into the suburbs and small cities.

In Toledo, protesters marched from a shopping mall to a wealthy suburb on Sunday, spreading out face down on the street and chanting “I can’t breathe.”

By John Seewer

Associated Press