What you missed in Columbus for June 8
Protests ignited by the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd spread through the weekend, even extending into small, rural towns that had been relatively untouched by previous Black Lives Matter actions.TheDispatchreported that more than 700 rallied in downtown Mount Vernon, for one, and rallies have been staged in places such as Zanesille. “My brother said it best: ‘It starts in small towns,’” said Cam Chilcote, who helped organize an event in Nelsonville. “Small towns make up this country. This town is going through a change.” The protests alsocontinued in Columbus, drawing thousands of marchers Downtown.
Both City Council President Shannon Hardin and President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown released statements calling for the city to dismiss any charges against protesters related to either curfew violations or failure to disperse. “We should not police free speech, and people certainly do not need to face penalty by their government for exercising theirs," Brown said in a statement. Writing on Twitter, City Attorney Zach Klein said, “As of late last week, the City Attorney’s Office has already dismissed several curfew cases after completed review. … We continue to review allegations of violence on a case-by-case basis. Only those charges with sufficient evidence will be reviewed.”
The Columbus Division of Police continued to fumble its social media response to the ongoing protests (making no mention of its on-the-ground approach), posting and then deleting the account of an officer who responded to a call about a toddler discovered floating in a pond. Many critics rightfully took aim at the post’s defensive tone (“Hate us, chastise us, spit on us but guess what? When you call 911 will [sic] be there because that’s who we are!!”), in addition to the way it attempts to spin a family’s tragedy into a PR win. Maybe it’d be best to log off for a few days.