COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has responded to the protests that occurred in the state’s capital city Thursday night that damaged the statehouse building.
People were protesting the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, when things took a destructive turn.
“Protests expressing outrage are not only understandable, but they are also appropriate. We want Ohioans to exercise their First Amendment rights,” DeWine said during a news briefing Friday afternoon. “Ohioans should speak out against wrongdoing. Ohioans should speak out for change. They should speak out for unity for an end to injustice. In all aspects of our lives, we must not allow hate to prevail over love, kindness, and compassion.”
DeWine, who acknowledges that protesting and exercising First Amendment rights, is an important part of Ohio’s civic rights, asks that citizens protest peacefully, stating that violence puts lives at stake.
“I ask my fellow citizens today, as you gather in protest in the coming days throughout Ohio, please do so peacefully. We must not fight violence with more violence,” he said.
DeWine also responded to Floyd’s death, saying we all have a responsibility to stand up and say we won’t tolerate this type of conduct.
“I want to make sure that, as Governor of Ohio, I say to every African American man, woman, and child – you are valued and an essential part of this community,” DeWine said. “I acknowledge that I hear the voices of frustration. I receive those words and emotions with empathy and a commitment to seek solutions and justice when it is denied.”
Also Friday, the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board announced the extent of the destruction to the statehouse.
The CSRAB reports that 28 statehouse windows were smashed and wood frames were damaged. Multiple doors were also damaged during the protest, along with five lamp poles. Fires were started in multiple flowerbeds and flags were burned.
Trash cans on the premises were also dumped over and thrown.
The Senate building was not damaged during the protest, nor was the Atrium. There is no estimation on the cost of the damages at this time.
The police officer who was seen on video kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in custody after pleading that he could not breathe, was arrested Friday and charged with murder.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Derek Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Freeman did not provide immediate details, but said a criminal complaint would be made available later Friday and that more charges were possible.
In the video, Chauvin is seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck as Floyd is on the ground. He gradually becomes motionless as Chauvin and three other officers ignore bystanders’ shouts to get off him. Freeman said the investigation continues into the other three officers, but that authorities “felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator.”
Freeman highlighted the “extraordinary speed” in charging the case just four days after Floyd’s death, but also defended himself against questions about why it did not happen sooner. He said his office needed time to put together evidence, including what he called the “horrible” video by a bystander. He said he would not bring a case unless he had enough evidence to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Protests in Minneapolis escalated in violence on Thursday, when demonstrators torched a police station that officers had abandoned.
“I’m not insensitive to what happened in the streets,” Freeman said. “My own home has been picketed regularly.”
All four officers who were at the scene of Floyd’s death were fired the next day. After the charges were announced, protesters outside the government center chanted, “All four got to go.”