The Ohio National Guard is returning to the state after being called to Washington, DC to secure demonstrations in the District. However, members of the guard are still in some Ohio cities as protesters continue to demonstrate against the deaths of George Floyd and other black people killed by police.
The Ohio National Guard sent 100 members to Washington, DC after the U.S. Secretary of Defense called for assistance during protests in the District. While those members are returning, other soldiers will continue to be posted in Cleveland and Columbus.
Major General John Harris, Adjutant General of the Ohio National Guard, says members are specifically trained for crowd control and to assist local law enforcement.
"With crowd control, with protecting critical sites and doing so while not only respecting the people who are protesting but also if we have to move a crowd or effect the behavior of a crowd we can do that in a non-lethal way without harming anyone," says Harris.
A member of the Ohio National Guard serving in Washington, D.C. was suspended after the FBI reported finding "white supremacist ideology" that member expressed online prior to the assignment. The FBI is still investigating that case.
There have been demonstrators in Columbus and Cleveland who've criticized the presence of the national guard as creating a militarized atmosphere at what have largely been non-violent protests.