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Mayor Ginther Lifts Curfew After Federal Lawsuit, More Peaceful Protests

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Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther has rescinded the citywide 10 p.m. curfew that was put in place last week. This comes after a federal lawsuit was filed claiming the curfew violated constitutional rights.

The statement released from the mayor's office indicated that Ginther made the decision after consulting with City Attorney Zach Klein. The lawsuit will be dismissed per an agreement reached between the city and the plaintiffs.

The protests have largely been peaceful since Tuesday night, as Columbus Police essentially stopped enforcing the curfew after critcism from local officials and activists over their use of force.

Protests started on Thursday, May 28 in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police. For the first five days, protesters clashed with Columbus Police officers, who used pepper spray as well as wooden and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse the crowds. 

The first three days of protesting also involved damage to windows at the Ohio Statehouse and nearby businesses in downtown Columbus. Last Saturday, Gov. Mike DeWine activated the Ohio National Guard, the same day that Ginther imposed the curfew.

In the statement, Ginther said, "I am pleased that in recent days there has been better communication and greater collaboration between police and protestors, demonstrations have been peaceful, and there have not been any significant acts of violence, vandalism or use of force by police.”  

Ginther added, "In recent days we became increasingly hopeful that the curfew could be lifted, and clearly the time is now right. I encourage people to continue to lift up their voices in peaceful protest, and we will remain laser focused on implementing meaningful and lasting change to fight racism and discrimination.”

Last night, many protesters were out past the curfew but were not forced to disperse by police.