Protesters, Police Clash For Second Night Running In Downtown Columbus

May 30, 2020

After relatively peaceful demonstrations earlier in the evening on Columbus’ South Side, protesters again clashed with police downtown.

In the second consecutive night of protests, hundreds of people descended on downtown Columbus on Friday.

The demonstrations, in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, had an unruly, almost festive atmosphere at the edges. People driving to the protests hung out of their car windows shouting slogans with protesters on sidewalks.

Police in the intersection of Broad and Front Streets.
Credit Nick Evans / WOSU

Closer to the heart of downtown, there was broken glass and grafitti.

Columbus Police set up a number of choke points at different intersections to control the flow of traffic. Officers on foot occupied the intersection of Broad and Front Streets.

Around 11:00 p.m., officers at the corner of High and Town Streets fired tear gas, dispersing a crowd of more than 100. As the canister smoke drifted out of the intersection, cars and pedestrians split—some heading north and the others south.

Shrubs torn from planters along Front Street.
Credit Nick Evans / WOSU

Over a loud speaker, an officer intoned, “You must leave the area, regardless of your purpose, you are in violation of the law.”

A block west on Front Street, protesters had spray painted a statue on the Supreme Court of Ohio building and tore shrubs out of planters across the street.

Friday afternoon, Columbus city leaders and Gov. Mike DeWine separately encouraged residents to express their frustration over racism through protest, but to do so peacefully.

“Protest is good. Protest is right. Protest is the only natural expression of hurt people,” said City Council president Shannon Hardin. “We should be upset because the world is not as it should be. But I want to personally ask the community to make their outrage heard through nonviolent means.”

Further protests are planned for Saturday morning at the Statehouse.