Demonstrations in Ohio largely peaceful

By Dan Sewell - Associated Press

CINCINNATI (AP) — Ohio’s largest cities are seeing less destruction of property in the most recent protests over the death of George Floyd, and in at least one, many of the arrests now stem from curfew violations, authorities said.

Monday night’s activity in Cincinnati marked some progress from weekend nights, when hundreds of people were arrested. Most of the roughly 50 people arrested were violating curfew, police said.

Mayor John Cranley apologized for the police detention of a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter, calling it “a big mistake.” He was released without charges.

Columbus police officers were captured in videos posted online pepper spraying protesters and members of the press near Ohio State University. That was hours after police officials walked alongside and spoke with demonstrators downtown, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

Cleveland, meanwhile, will allow downtown businesses to open beginning Wednesday, but a nighttime curfew will remain through Friday.

Hundreds of storefronts and government buildings were damaged across the state during weekend protests sparked by the May 25 death of Floyd in Minnesota. Floyd, a black man who was handcuffed, died after a white officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes, even after he stopped moving and pleading for air.

Ohio 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.

Gary Wolske, president of a police union, said Tuesday that while Floyd and his family have a right to justice, it won’t be achieved by attacking police officers.

“Just as not all protesters want to be labeled as rioters and looters, neither can all police be smeared and attacked based on the actions of a select few,” he said in a statement.

Officials in Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati over the weekend said they believed that out-of-towners were largely responsible for violence. But since then, media outlets reviewed court records and reported that the large majority of those arrested during the protests were local or Ohio residents.

By Dan Sewell

Associated Press