Crowds gather again in Columbus to protest police brutality, emergency declared in downtown area Friday night

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Crowds gathered again Friday evening to protest police brutality after the death of 46-year-old George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody on Monday.

Floyd was restrained by officer Derek Chauvin, who dug his knee into Floyd’s neck. Chauvin was arrested Friday and charged with third degree murder and manslaughter.

Peaceful protests in Columbus turned violent Thursday night when a few demonstrators threw objects at police, destroyed city property and broke into the Ohio Statehouse.

The Friday protest turned violent once again and police used pepper spray after protesters threw objects, including glass, at officers. Two officers were injured as a result of rocks and bricks being thrown at them, according to Columbus Police.

Columbus Police also report five people have been arrested. Businesses on High Street in the Short North were also vandalized.

Not long after objects were thrown, Columbus Police declared an emergency in the downtown area for a second day in a row. The emergency means anyone who does not leave the area is subject to be removed regardless of their reason for being there.

Columbus Police declared the emergency as laid out by Columbus City Code and the Ohio Revised Code.

Protesters and police squared off once again at approximately 10:45 p.m. when more objects were thrown at officers. The protest moved to the Short North where Columbus Police report damage to city property and private businesses.

Here’s a compilation of pictures after the emergency was declared:

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a news conference Friday to talk about Floyd’s death and the protests in downtown Columbus on Thursday night.  

“While Fran and I feel sorrow and disgust at what we saw, we cannot fully comprehend or imagine what an African American family must feel,” DeWine said. “His death impacts all of us. We have a responsibility to each other . . . regardless of race, to stand up and speak out and say ‘We won’t tolerate conduct like this.’”

On Thursday, SWAT arrived on the scene soon after the Statehouse break-in. Officers used a loudspeaker to announce an emergency was declared in the area.

“The Columbus Police officers who responded to the Statehouse area yesterday put their own lives at risk and did an excellent job,” DeWine said. “The vast majority, almost all police officers do a good job. But we have a moral obligation to make sure every officer, all 35,000, have the proper training.”

Here was some of the damage done on Thursday:

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin and Congresswoman Joyce Beatty also responded to Thursday’s protests. The leaders encouraged people to protest but to do so peacefully.

Columbus wasn’t the only city in Ohio where protests were held. A group of protesters also gathered in Cincinnati shutting down a section of I-75 South.

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