West Chester lifts curfew imposed during protest that turned out to be peaceful

Updated: Jun. 4, 2020 at 10:06 PM EDT
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WEST CHESTER TWP. Ohio (FOX19) - Two days after West Chester Township trustees voted by emergency order to impose a 30-day curfew, it has been lifted.

Trustee Ann Becker wrote in a Facebook post Thursday night the curfew was lifted. State Rep. George Lang confirmed the news Thursday night, saying it is permanently gone, at least for now.

Lang said he reached out to Trustee Mark Welch after business owners contacted him.

'I talked to Welch the other day after they implemented the curfew and asked him to rescind. Many bar owners called me very concerned," said Lang, R-West Chester, a former longtime township trustee.

The curfew was imposed Tuesday during a protest at the West Chester Clock Tower over the death of George Floyd.

West Chester Township Trustees held an emergency meeting and made the precautionary decision to pass an emergency resolution for the 30-day curfew.

The resolution was intended to protect the businesses, residents, and property of the property, a township spokeswoman said.

West Chester trustees received information that potentially violent groups were going to join the West Chester protest Tuesday, prompting them to impose the curfew, according to Becker.

While Cincinnati protests in the days prior were mostly peaceful, they turned violent and destructive at times, resulting in several Over-the-Rhine businesses being vandalized with broken windows, including some that were looted.

The American flag was stolen outside the Hamilton County Justice Center, where a window also was smashed out, and a Cincinnati police officer literally dodged a bullet the following night when police say someone deliberately fired a gun at him as he and other officers dispersed a disorderly crowd in Clifton Heights.

The round went through the officer’s riot shield and struck his helmet. He was not hurt, and the incident remains remains under investigation.

This all prompted Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley to impose a city-wide curfew that has since been extended until Monday, June 8.

West Chester officials said their could last up to 30 days just in case they needed it.

“This order was designed to be a tool for the police department to disperse any crowd in a public space," Becker wrote in her Facebook post.

But the protest in West Chester was peaceful, and the curfew ultimately wasn’t enforced. The event ended without incident or arrests.

“A few people remained, giving high fives and hugs to our police, praying with our police chief and fire chief,” Becker wrote. “It was a perfect ending to what could have been a tense situation.”

Township spokeswoman Barb Wilson said late Thursday she thinks the curfew will be rescinded. Until then, she said, the default is no curfew.

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