COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Demonstrators have gathered across the US, including here in Ohio, to protest police violence in response to the death of George Floyd.
Crowds in Columbus were heard chanting “Black Lives Matter,” “Say His Name” and “I Can’t Breathe” during their demonstration Thursday night.
They held signs containing various messages including “Justice for George.”
Columbus police stood by and blocked off North High Street at Broad Street downtown to stop the protests from marching farther.
After demonstrators became aggressive, throwing what appeared to be rocks or items at patrol vehicles, police asked them to disperse peacefully. When that failed, they sprayed protesters with a pepper spray-like substance.
Floyd, 46, died on Monday in Minneapolis police custody. Video shared online showed a police officer kneeling on his neck during his arrest as he pleaded that he couldn’t breathe. Numerous bystanders reportedly begged the officers to take the pressure off of his neck and check his pulse.
Four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest have since been fired and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said on Wednesday Derek Chauvin, the officer who dug his knee into Floyd’s neck, should be charged in his death.
The Department of Justice and FBI have also said they are conducting “a robust criminal investigation” into Floyd’s death and making the case a priority. They are also investigating whether Floyd’s civil rights were violated.