Protestors with shields as police in riot gear prepare for attack

Photos by Winie Wirth

After a day including an LGBTQ-Black Lives Matter march at noon and other anti-police brutality gatherings at the Statehouse this evening, the Columbus Police and SWAT seemed to anticipate trouble with an unprecedented and unnecessry show of force around 5pm, witnesses report. Bike cops rammed into protestors without provocation. On Facebook videos, police are seen running on the sidewalk and one wrestling with and punching a young black man. It is unclear what prompted this proactive violence on behalf of the police. 

But a look at a June 19 Dispatch article might give a clue. The police union president Keith Ferrell complained that he was stymied by not being able to use tear gas -- it had beeen banned by Mayor Ginther -- to disperse a crowd. Perhaps starting a new riot after weeks of peaceful protests is what Ferrell needs to make his point.

A timeline from our Free Press photographer match with photos below:

5 pm: State police guarding the Ohio Statehouse during protests Sunday evening. Note red paint on stone facade, remnants of "bloody" handprints applied by protesters on Friday. 

5 pm: Broad and High Streets, Bicycle cops en masse.

5 pm: Over 81 police cars with CPD officers in riot gear lined up as far as the eye can see down High Street, in response to BLM protesters at the Ohio Statehouse. Major overtime. Your tax dollars at work.

5:10pm: Volunteer medics apply water to a protester who was pepper sprayed.

5:30 pm: CPD officers in riot gear marching north on High Street.

5:30 pm: Several dozen CPD in riot gear inexplicably span Broad Street facing a virtually deserted street to the east.

6 pm: State Troopers ready to be deployed, State and High Streets. Coincidentally, a Covid billboard in the background with a raised fist supports the over-policing message

6:45 pm. State Troopers aka Darth Vader's Storm Troopers move north toward Broad and High.

7 pm: State Highway Patrol chillin' at the Ohio Statehouse, some wearing their iconic Smokey Bear hats, and some dressed in riot gear.