COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police in Ohio’s capital city used pepper spray on a small group of people who briefly breached the outer doors of the agency’s downtown headquarters Tuesday night, following protests over the fatal police shooting of a Black man at an emergency room on Monday.
The clash followed a largely peaceful protest downtown earlier in the evening where dozens marched in anger over the fatal shooting of Miles Jackson, 27, at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital in suburban Columbus.
Protesters invoked that shooting as well as the killing of other Black men by police nationally, including the Sunday shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb. A white police officer who authorities believe mistakenly fired her gun instead of a stun gun has resigned in Wright’s shooting.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther backed the protesters’ cause but denounced the attempt by a few to later enter police headquarters.
“We share the frustrations over police killings of unarmed Black men, and we support nonviolent protests,” Ginther, a Democrat, said in a tweet. “That does not include breaking into public buildings or violence against officers. Let me be clear: Violence and destruction will not be tolerated.”
One person was taken into custody in connection with the breach of police headquarters.
On Monday, Westerville police officers responded to a report of a man — later identified as Jackson — passed out in a car and then followed medics to the hospital. Columbus police were called because Jackson had outstanding domestic violence and weapons warrants in the city.
Westerville police then tried to transfer Jackson to the custody of Columbus police, but during that transfer, “an altercation ensued” at about 2:15 p.m. Monday. That “resulted in the discharge of firearms” from the Columbus Division of Police and St. Ann’s security officers, according to a joint statement from the two police departments and the hospital.
Immediately after the shooting, Westerville Police Chief Charles Chandler described an “exchange of gunfire” in the emergency room. But the joint statement said only that an additional firearm was recovered at the hospital.
On Wednesday, Republican Attorney General Dave Yost said ballistic tests showed that Jackson had a gun. His agency’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation into the shooting. Yost’s statement didn’t make clear whether Jackson fired the gun, saying only: “shots were fired.”
Emergency room staff tried to revive Jackson, who was pronounced dead, authorities said. No officers, hospital staff or physicians were injured, officials said.