WATCH: Violent Protests In Columbus, Ohio Over Death of George Floyd (Video)

columbus ohio may 28

Erin Laviola Protests in Columbus, Ohio, turned violent on May 28.

Peaceful demonstrations in downtown Columbus, Ohio, on May 28 turned violent overnight as demonstrators protested the death of George Floyd. Floyd died on May 25 in police custody in Minneapolis after an officer pinned him to the ground by pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck. His death has sparked outrage nationwide.

Hundreds of people gathered around 8 p.m. for a peaceful protest and marched down High Street. Participants chanted “Say his name” and “Black lives matter.” The crowd eventually congregated near the Ohio Statehouse at High and Broad streets.

According to NBC affiliate WCMH-TV, a few people in the crowd started throwing objects at police officers, such as water bottles and shoes, around 9:45 p.m. The Lantern reported that a Lime scooter was also thrown.

The protest in Columbus was among several that took place around the country. Tensions escalated in Minneapolis for the third night in a row as a police precinct was overrun. The Minnesota National Guard was called in. There were reports of shots fired during a protest in Denver, Colorado. Seven people were shot during demonstrations in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine discussed the protests in downtown Columbus during a news conference Friday afternoon and his office shared highlights on social media as he spoke. DeWine acknowledged the anger felt in the wake of Floyd’s death and encouraged demonstrators to do so without violence. “Peaceful protest and the exercise of our First Amendment rights are an important part of our civic rights – but when protests turn violent, lives are put at stake. I ask my fellow citizens today, as you gather in protest in the coming days throughout Ohio, please do so peacefully. We must not fight violence with more violence.” The governor added, “I want to make sure that, as Governor of Ohio, I say to every African American man, woman, and child, you are valued and an essential part of this community.”

Here’s what you need to know:


Columbus Police Used Pepper Spray to Break Up the Crowd After Protesters Threw Items at Officers

Columbus protest update 12:00 a.m. cut inColumbus protest update 12:00 a.m. cut in2020-05-29T04:13:37Z

Reporter Eric Halperin was on the ground and tweeted that an officer warned over a loudspeaker that “crowd control devices” would be used. Police instructed people to get out of the road. Around 10 p.m, officers used tear gas to break up the crowd. The situation calmed briefly before escalating again after 11 p.m.

WSYX-TV reporter Haley Nelson tweeted video of police moving forward along the street to disperse the crowd. Mounted officers were also on the scene. WBNS-TV reported that in addition to pepper spray, the police used flashbang grenades.


Protesters Broke Into the Ohio Statehouse & Shattered Storefront Windows

Before midnight, the situation erupted into utter chaos. As seen in the video above, a group of protesters stormed the Statehouse lawn. Windows were broken and some people even went inside the building, Halperin shared.

Twitter user @TillTinyTime shared the video embedded above from the Statehouse lawn. Someone was heard yelling George Floyd’s name repeatedly as the crowd moved closer to the government building.

Some protesters threw trash cans and smashed windows of storefronts and bus stops along the street. Nelson shared that the windshield and side of one of the news vehicles were smashed. People in the crowd could be heard intermittently shouting “No justice, no peace,” “F*ck the police” and “Black lives matter.”

Heavy could see the confrontations from above as people moved south along High Street. Around 11:50 p.m, someone was throwing a chair at the front door of the historic bank building located at High and Town streets. One of the doors of the vacant building was shattered.

Just after midnight, protesters smashed the windows of the restaurant located at the same intersection. Heavy could hear people on the street cheering the men on.

About half an hour later, with a crowd gathered on the sidewalk and police officers lined up in the road, a man smashed another window of the same restaurant with a chair. People scattered as police approached to arrest the man. Heavy could see officers spraying tear gas into the air.

Twitter user @clamflesh shared a close-up video of the moment a group of protesters, including one holding a “Black Lives Matter” sign, was hit with pepper spray.

columbus ohio may 29

Erin LaviolaDemonstrations protesting the death of George Floyd turned violent in Columbus, Ohio, before midnight on May 28, 2020.

Around 12:15 a.m., Heavy could hear glass shattering below on the sidewalk. It turned out to be the door of the convenience store located a few yards from this reporter’s apartment building.

A group of police officers sprinted from down the block to take positions in front of the building as people in the crowd ran. I briefly closed the window because I was beginning to taste and smell the pepper spray from the street.

A couple of minutes later, this reporter opened the window again and could see a man on the ground surrounded by police officers on bicycles. A woman somewhere on the sidewalk could be heard shouting, “Don’t kill him!” People were also yelling obscenities at the police and one voice could be heard screaming, “You ain’t sh*t without your badge, b*tch.”


Police: ‘This Is Not a Protest, This Is a Riot. If They Don’t Move, Spray Them’

By 1 a.m., a smaller crowd had moved another block south. Police officers lined up to face the group of people that had congregated near a bus stop. In the video above, you can hear one of the officers instruct his team, “This is not a protest. This is a riot, it’s not a protest. Spray them. We’re done. If they don’t move, spray them.” The crowd appeared to disperse without major violence.

By about 1:30 a.m. the situation had calmed. A SWAT truck was parked at High and Town streets and police remained at the intersection. An officer on a loudspeaker was heard instructing any stragglers to leave the area or face arrest. Streets surrounding the Statehouse were closed.

WBNS-TV reported that multiple protesters were arrested.

columbus ohio may 28

Erin LaviolaDemonstrations protesting the death of George Floyd turned violent in Columbus, Ohio, before midnight on May 28, 2020.

WCMH-TV reporter Halperin posted additional photos of the damage in the area surrounding the Ohio Statehouse. The Sheraton Hotel on 3rd Street was among the businesses that had their front doors shattered. Heavy spoke with a local photographer after the situation had calmed who said the Ohio Theater had also been damaged. 10TV shared a picture of the damage to the ticket office.

Columbus ohio protests

Erin LaviolaPolice cruisers lined up along High Street in Columbus, Ohio, on May 29 following violent protests that started at the Ohio Statehouse.

As of 2:45 a.m., multiple police vehicles were lined up along the middle of High Street. The road was reopened about 30 minutes later.


City Leaders Had Urged Marchers to Remain Peaceful

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther called for calm after the peaceful march began. He posted on Twitter just before 9 p.m, nearly an hour before the situation began to escalate. “I understand why some residents are angry and taking to the streets. I have said many times that racism exists across the country, state and right here in Columbus. We are committed to addressing racism wherever we see it. I respect peaceful protests and ask residents to remain peaceful in their actions tonight and every night.”

Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin also urged restraint. He wrote on Twitter just before 10 p.m.:

Our nation is bleeding from one too many wounds. I am angry. We are all angry. Folks are being shot down while jogging and suffocating from the knee of injustice and abuse of power. We want change. As we work to fix the racist legacies haunting our lives, I ask both law enforcement and protesters to understand each other tonight and in the coming days. This is hard for all of us, and we want to make sure everyone remains safe as we achieve meaningful change for our communities.

Here is a roundup of photos and videos shared online earlier in the evening on May 28, before the demonstrations turned violent:


Daylight Images: Businesses Cleaned Up Broken Glass as Community Members Surveyed the Damage

Here is a roundup of images from around downtown Columbus during the morning of May 29, as business owners assessed the damage and community members took it all in. Heavy spoke with two business owners who said they planned to board up their windows this afternoon in case more violent protests break out tonight.

protests columbus ohio

Erin LaviolaA convenience store and a 5/3 Bank on High Street in Columbus, Ohio on May 29, 2020, the morning after protests turned violent

columbus ohio may 29

Erin LaviolaThe Ohio Theatre in Columbus, Ohio on May 29, 2020, the morning after protests turned violent

columbus ohio may 29

Erin LaviolaShattered storefronts in downtown Columbus, Ohio, the morning of May 29, 2020, after protests turned violent

columbus ohio may 29

Erin LaviolaThe Sheraton Hotel on 3rd Street in downtown Columbus, Ohio, the morning of May 29, 2020, after protests turned violent

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