Three government officials in Ohio maced during demonstrations protesting George Floyd’s death
Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) and two local officials were sprayed with face irritants Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, while participating in a demonstration protesting the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died during an encounter with Minneapolis police this week.
Beaty, Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin and Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce joined others gathering in protest outside the Ohio Statehouse Saturday afternoon when they were forcefully dispersed by city police who reportedly shot pepper spray or mace into the crowd.
Saturday marks the third consecutive day of protests in Columbus, according to a local NBC affiliate.
The three black public officials were reportedly trying to step in during a conflict between a protester and an officer when police started spraying the irritants.
Hardin and Boyce pulled Beatty out of the way.
“We did get sprayed but we are Ok,” Hardin said in a video on Twitter Saturday.
“We are encouraging folks to keep calm. We understand that the tensions are high, our tensions are high as well: we are just angry as you all right now, and we need change. But the only way we will get change is by peaceful demonstrations.”
Just want to let folks know that when @RepBeatty @VoteBoyce and I were down at the protest we did get sprayed with mace or pepper spray. We are all ok, and we want to encourage folks, both police and protestors, to stay calm. pic.twitter.com/RDQ1p4YDRY
— Shannon Hardin (@SG_Hardin) May 30, 2020
Hardin later tweeted a photo of himself kneeling on the ground pouring milk on his face to alleviate the pain caused by mace, which protesters are often seen doing after police use tear gas.
“Thanks to whoever gave me that milk,” he tweeted.
Columbus is one of many cities in the country that has seen demonstrations protesting Floyd’s death turn violent in recent days.
In Louisville, Ky., for example, a reporter and camera operator were shot with pepper balls in the middle of a live broadcast on Friday covering protests against police brutality sparked by Floyd and EMT Breona Taylor’s deaths.