COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A police officer escaped injury when his helmet was struck by a bullet during a Cincinnati protest, while in Columbus a fire considered suspicious destroyed a nearly completed apartment building amid a third day of protests in Ohio over the Minneapolis death of George Floyd.
In Cincinnati, the officer was working to disperse a crowd near the University of Cincinnati early Sunday when several shots rang out. Police Chief Eliot Isaac said a round went through the officer's riot shield and into his helmet, and although uninjured the officer was placed on administrative leave due to the “traumatic event."
Isaac said 110 arrests were made, most for curfew violation but also for crimes such as arson, riot and assault on a police officer. A number of businesses had windows broken and shots were fired into them, he said. A 10 p.m. curfew imposed on several areas was extended citywide for Sunday and Monday nights and moved up to 9 p.m.
“This is a complicated situation, and there's a difference between peaceful protest and righteous indignation and the kind of things that led to the looting on Friday night and other criminal behavior and potential threats and real threats to our police officers," Mayor John Cranley said.
Cranley said activities that authorities found the most frightening “were by white people," some of whom were “clearly engaged in coordinated activities." He said he saw individuals appearing to “case" the police District 1 police headquarters and others pointing at windows later targeted by rocks thrown. Others, officials said, appeared to be trying to provoke a police overreaction.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that the fire at the four-story Residences at Topiary Park burned for hours early Sunday, causing part of the roof and several floors to collapse. “It’s obviously suspicious because no one is living here,” Columbus Fire Division Battalion Chief Anthony Brooks said.
Battalion Chief Steve Martin told WBNS-TV that arson was suspected, and that an attempt was made to set fire to other apartment building under construction next door.
The governor of Ohio said Saturday he was calling out the Ohio National Guard and highway patrol to help enforce laws in Columbus, where the mayor said more than 100 public and private properties had been damaged, five officers were injured by thrown bricks or rocks and police vehicles were set afire.
Floyd, a black man, died after a white officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes.