COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A week of major protests revolving around the police killings of Tyre King and Henry Green continued on Thursday evening.
A pretend casket and tombstones inscribed with their names were left on the front lawn of Mayor Andrew Ginther’s home. A mock funeral processional went through his Clintonville neighborhood to protest the police shooting deaths.
King, 13, was shot and killed by an officer earlier this month after he allegedly pulled out a gun when the officer was pursuing him. The gun was a BB gun, police later said.
Green, 23, was shot and killed in June after two undercover officers approached him. Police said Green pointed a gun at the officers after they identified themselves.
Both King and Green were black.
The group called Showing Up for Racial Justice Columbus marched from Oakland Park Avenue to Ginther’s house on East North Broadway street.
Many of the participants were white, and said they came intentionally to show support for the black community in Columbus.
“We are a group of white people mobilizing other white people to get involved in the Black Lives Matter Movement,” says lead organizer Lane Campbell. “We’re coming here to Mayor Ginther’s house to wake him up and bring the issue straight to his doorstep.”
Protestor Will Klatt says he came to the demonstration because Clintonville is his neighborhood.
“I grew up on Walhalla. I live now on Lakeview and I grew up essentially playing with toy guns in the Walhalla ravine and never once did I ever even worry about whether or not a police officer would fire on me,” he says.
Campbell says they want their demands heard.
“To eliminate the ‘Summer Safety Initiative’ which is an initiative that increases policing in black and brown neighborhoods, especially plain clothes police officers, which undermines trust in those neighborhoods,” she says.
Columbus police officers guarded the mayor’s home, some watched from across the street. NBC4 was told by an officer that Ginther was not home at the time of the protest and a city representative nearby did not want to give a statement.
Ginther released the following statement in regards to the protest:
We have and continue to engage residents, civic and faith leaders, community activists, and advocates for social justice in direct conversation centered on improving community-police relations and building trust. We are listening, and we are focused on constructive dialogue and lasting solutions to move our city forward. I ask residents to remain patient and allow for investigations into recent police-involved shootings to reveal the facts. And, while we should all be grateful to live in a country where free speech and civil disobedience are acceptable forms of expression, we must treat each other with mutual respect as we work together.”
Mayor Andrew J. Ginther
“I think that oppression and racism thrives on white people being silent and complicit in it. We know that when white people are silent, more violence is perpetuated,” says Campbell. “We will be holding those elected officials accountable.”