Demonstrators breach Ohio Statehouse

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Crowds gathered across Columbus Thursday evening to protest police brutality after the death of 46-year-old George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody on Monday.

Floyd was restrained by officer Derek Chauvin, who dug his knee into Floyd’s neck.

Peaceful protests in Columbus turned violent when some involved began throwing objects at police officers. Police responded by using tear gas to push the crowd back. The crowd let up, but an hour later the protest escalated when demonstrators smashed windows at the Ohio Statehouse while some went inside the building.

SWAT arrived on the scene soon after the Statehouse break-in. Officers used a loudspeaker to announce an emergency was declared in the area, meaning any protesters who refused to leave would be arrested.

As of 12:45 a.m., some of the crowd remains.

Here’s what the scene looked like shortly after 11:00 p.m. Thursday night:

Protests began peacefully on Thursday evening around 8:00 p.m. The video below shows the scene at the intersection of Broad St. and High St. around 9:00 p.m.

The protestors in Columbus chanted, “Black Lives Matter” and “Say His Name” in reference to Floyd and “I Can’t Breathe” in reference to the 2014 death of Eric Garner. Garner was placed in a choke hold during an arrest and officer Daniel Pantaleo kept him in the choke hold while Garner told the officers “I can’t breathe” several times.

A grand jury decided to not indict Pantaleo.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin both responded to the protests on Twitter urging those involved to protest peacefully.

Protesters began throwing objects at police officers around 9:45 p.m.

15 minutes later, officers moved their line up while using tear gas to push the crowd back. The crowd began dispersing around 10:20 p.m. but picked back up in the next hour. Here’s what the scene looked like at 11:15 p.m. in Columbus:

Update at 1:49 am on Friday, May 29: Several streets downtown still blocked. Crowds seem to be dispersed. Still people out but in much smaller groups.

Columbus police say several businesses were damaged during the protests, and several people were arrested.

The protest did not reach the level of escalation experienced in Minneapolis on Wednesday and Thursday, which included rioting, looting and fires set across the city including one inside the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct.

Denver protests also turned violent Thursday as authorities say shots were fired, protesters blocked traffic and smashed vehicle windows during a demonstration.

The four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest have since been fired, and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said on Wednesday Chauvin should be charged in the death of Floyd.

“I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours, one fundamental question: Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?” said Frey.

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