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Law Enforcement Remains On High Alert Despite Muted Weekend Protests

An Ohio National Guard Humvee was parked outside the Ohio Statehouse on Sunday in anticipation for a planned armed march protest.
Karen Kasler
/
Ohio Public Radio
An Ohio National Guard Humvee was parked outside the Ohio Statehouse on Sunday in anticipation for a planned armed march protest.

In downtown Columbus this weekend, the flood of armed Trump supporters some feared failed to materialize. Maybe it was bad weather. Maybe it was the Browns game. Maybe people just weren’t that interested.

Regardless of what kept demonstrators home this weekend, Columbus Police Chief Tom Quinlan says he’s not lowering his guard just yet.

“The window of opportunity for someone to engage in disrupting the peaceful transfer of power remains open,” Quinlan said Monday morning on WOSU's All Sides with Ann Fisher. “So while we’re pleased that yesterday went very well, I think the real challenge will again remain Wednesday during the inauguration.”

Quinlan acknowledged the presence of heavily armed protesters complicates police efforts.

“What we’re watching for is that people are legally and lawfully carrying the weapons in a non-provocative manner,” Quinlan explained. “If someone would bear the arm in a way that’s provocative or is an imminent attack on someone then officers are certainly going to respond.”

Quinlan also addressed an ongoing rash of homicides in Columbus. The city is already in double-digits this year after reporting a record number of homicides last year.

“The common thread here is gun violence and people’s willingness to use guns and lack of accountability when we do arrest people, and they have a gun charge and continue to not face any consequence after that," Quinlan said.

Separately, Quinlan said “numerous” officers who responded to the scene where former officer Adam Coy shot and killed Andre Hill in late Deember remain under investigation by internal affairs. Officers left Hill lying on the ground for more than 10 minutes after he was shot without offering any kind of first aid. Hill later died at a nearby hospital.