Mayor Ginther Plans Meeting With State Of The City Protesters

Feb 14, 2020

Mayor Andrew Ginther's office announced Friday that they are working to set up a meeting with protesters who interrupted his annual State Of The City address.

Ginther used the State of the City on Thursday to discuss what he called an "equity agenda." While he was speaking, members of the Columbus Freedom Coalition protested police brutality.

"Columbus, Ohio, has one of the most deadly police forces in the nation," the protestor shouted.

"I see you, and I hear you," Ginther responded from the stage. "And I look forward to meeting with you in the coming weeks, you and your group, to hear your voices."

The Mayor's Office says the protesters were not arrested, and that they have been working on a time to meet with the Columbus Freedom Coalition since before the speech.

"I know there are divisions right here in Columbus – last night, there was a protest by a few concerned, passionate residents," Ginther wrote in an emailed statement. "In my speech, I addressed some of their issues. While I respect their right to protest, I hope they will also accept the invitation my office has extended to meet and discuss how we can work together."

Ginther's office says they hope to have a date set in the coming weeks.

Members of the same group demonstrated during last month's city MLK breakfast. Two activists, Dkeama Alexis and Mia Santiago, were arrested for protesting the death of Julius Ervin Tate Jr., a black teen fatally shot by Columbus Police during a robbery sting operation.

The protesters posted bond and are awaiting their arraignment on criminal trespassing charges.

WOSU reached out to the Columbus Freedom Coalition and is waiting for comment.