Demonstrators pause to “take a knee” for Ty’re King on their way to Mayor Ginther’s house on September 29.

On Thursday about 50 demonstrators, most wearing black, marched in a silent mock funeral procession from the Columbus Mennonite Church to the home of Mayor Andrew Ginther in the predominately white neighborhood of Clintonville.

“Mayor Ginther’s inaction speaks louder than words,” said Tynan Krakoff, an organizer with Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). “Ginther needs to wake up to the racism thriving in Columbus. We are here to demand justice for Ty’re King and Henry Green. We are calling on city officials to invest in communities of color and for the mayor to break his silence and complicity in upholding racism.” SURJ is a national organization of white people organizing to fight against racial injustice.

“As white people, we know that we are treated differently than our neighbors of color, particularly under police programs such as the Summer Safety Initiative,” Krakoff said. “We need to shift our city’s budget away from policing and instead invest in black communities.”

About a dozen police on bicycles tracked the march, staying on the periphery. A police cruiser was waiting at Mayor Ginther’s house when the procession arrived. The police did not interact with the demonstrators, who dropped a faux casket and tombstones in Ginther’s yard, took a #KneeForTyre, and chanted.

“Hours after Ty’re was shot and killed by police, Mayor Ginther said Columbus was the safest big city,” said Rev. Lane Campbell, a SURJ organizer and minister of religious education at the First Unitarian Universalist Church. “It may be safe for Mayor Ginther to walk down the street, but he’s not living under the constant terror of the so-called Summer Safety Initiative. So we’re out here asking, safe for who?”

There were many honks of encouragement from passing motorists. Some of Ginther’s neighbors on East North Broadway expressed support. Others passed by without interacting with the demonstrators. The mayor lives on the whitest and most affluent street in Clintonville.

Mayor Ginther was not at home during the protest. ABC TV 6 reported that Ginther has gone missing this week, unavailable for any comment to the media since protesters shut down the Columbus City Council meeting on Monday.

“It is very important to be responsive and accessible,” Ginther said in a September 15 press conference, the day after Ty’re King was killed by Columbus police.   

The morning after the protest at Ginther’s house, Jacquarius Robinson, a 20-year-old black man, was killed by police on the East Side. It was the 14th police-involved shooting in Columbus this year. “Barely two weeks after Ty’re King, another young black person is killed,” Krakoff said.