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Columbus Mayor Declares State Of Emergency, Extends Curfew Indefinitely

Columbus Police blockade the intersection of Broad and High Streets in downtown Columbus on May 30, 2020.
Paige Pfleger
Columbus Police blockade the intersection of Broad and High Streets in downtown Columbus on May 30, 2020.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther has declared a state of emergency and signed an executive order extending the city's curfew indefinitely, in the wake of continued protests over the killing of George Floyd.

Ginther also announced the creation of a new email address to report potential misconduct by Columbus Police officers during protests.

The curfew will stretch from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. nightly. "During the hours of curfew, persons must not travel upon any public street, sidewalk, or public place," the order reads.

Violating curfew is considered a misdemeanor, with a punishment of up to a $1,000 fine and one year of prison.

Law enforcement, fire and medical personnel, as well as the news media, are not subject to the curfew. Also exempted are people experiencing homelessness, those seeking medical care, fleeing "dangerous circumstances" or traveling between work and home.

Columbus' curfew will remain in effect until rescinded by the mayor. Curfews are also in place in Cincinnati, Youngstown, Cleveland other cities.

At the same time, COTA is rerouting buses around downtown through Tuesday, June 2, meaning no transit stops will be served in that area.

On Sunday night, hours before curfew was set to begin, Columbus Police used tear gas to disperse protesters downtown and threatened arrest for those who remained. The confrontation followed a day of mostly-peaceful demonstrations where law enforcement was mostly absent.

Ginther and several members of Columbus City Council have criticized the police response to protests. In a since-deleted tweet, Ginther called some of the actions by Columbus Police "aggressive" and said the city was investigating those incidents.

On Monday, the mayor tweeted that people who feel they have been mistreated by police officers can email information to a newly-created address, reportCPD@columbus.gov, instead of filing an official report with the Internal Affairs Bureau.

Robin Davis, a spokeswoman for the mayor, said some residents don't trust Internal Affairs, so the city set up a way for complaints to be heard outside of the police department. Complaints will be reviewed by civilians in the Department of Public Affairs.

Residents can continue to file reports with Internal Affairs, as well.

Protesters resumed demonstrations Monday afternoon in front of the Ohio Statehouse. Ginther and Columbus City Council members have planned at a press conference separately on a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis, which the council plans to pass at their meeting this evening.

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.