tear gas

Police in riot gear in front of a protest at the Ohio Statehouse.
Jo Ingles / Statehouse News Bureau

Columbus City Council on Monday decided to table proposed restrictions on the police department's use of military equipment and non-lethal weapons like tear gas.

Columbus Police confront protesters at a demonstration downtown on June 2, 2020.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Columbus Police will no longer use tear gas to disperse peaceful crowds, Mayor Andrew Ginther announced Tuesday. 

Columbus Police used tear gas to disperse protesters on May 31, soon after arriving downtown.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Exercise restraint. Use only the minimum amount of lawful force. Do not show anger.

Every officer in training in Ohio is taught crowd control policies, outlined in a document that Columbus Police Chief Tom Quinlan helped write. Following recent demonstrations over police violence, however, protesters question if Quinlan’s officers followed those guidelines.

More than 20 Ohio state legislators are calling for an end to the use of tear gas and other chemical agents to disperse crowds at protests in the state.

The group of Democratic lawmakers signed a letter to the governor saying tear gas and other chemical agents can cause dangerous health effects such as respiratory failure, blindness and miscarriages.

They also said they’re concerned it could exacerbate the spread of the coronavirus.

As demonstrations continue in honor of George Floyd, and many cities in Ohio and elsewhere have come under fire for police response to such protests, Gov. Mike DeWine on Tuesday announced he is asking Ohio's Collaborative Community Police Advisory Board to develop minimum standards on law enforcement response to mass protests.

Protesters hit with tear gas by Columbus Police on Saturday, May 30, 2020.
Adora Namigadde / WOSU

This last week's protests have been dominated by stories of Columbus Police officers using tear gas and pepper spray on crowds of protesters. But this isn’t the first time their tactics have drawn criticism. 

In nationwide demonstrations against the police killing of George Floyd and other black Americans, protesters are frequently pepper-sprayed or enveloped in clouds of tear gas.

Protesters march down High Street in Columbus on June 2, 2020.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Public health experts worried that COVID-19 would continue to spread even as states reopen. Those concerns have been compounded recently, as large crowds gather to protest police brutality and the killings of black Americans. 

Civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Trump administration and federal law enforcement agencies, saying they violated the constitutional rights of demonstrators who were violently evacuated out of a park Monday to clear the path for a photo op by President Trump.

Protesters on the sidewalk of the Ohio Statehouse face Columbus Police officers, who stood in the middle of High Street, on June 1, 2020.
Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein is recommending the appointment of a special counsel to perform an independent investigation into Columbus Division of Police, following complaints about the department's use of force during recent protests.