Cincinnati police chief: 513 curfew arrests during protests

Two Cincinnati council members want curfew violation charges dropped against protesters

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac gave City Council an update Tuesday about the recent protests here over George Floyd’s death.

He said 513 people were arrested on the curfew violation charge of misconduct at an emergency, a misdemeanor.

Most were white males, he reported: 61% male, 39% female; 57% white, 40% African American, and 3% other.

Police have made just one arrest since Thursday related to the demonstrations, and it was not for a curfew violation, according to Isaac.

That includes Sunday when thousands packed Fountain Square for a protest that eventually ended up in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse.

While most protesters have been peaceful, a “significant” number were not, the chief said. There was violence and destruction, and people were arrested on more serious charges than just curfew violations.

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This Cincinnati police cruiser was damaged when someone threw a rock or brick at it during unrest late Saturday, May 30 into early Sunday, May 31.
This Cincinnati police cruiser was damaged when someone threw a rock or brick at it during unrest late Saturday, May 30 into early Sunday, May 31. (Source: WXIX)

Cincinnati imposed a curfew after the first night of protests on Friday, May 29 ended with several businesses vandalized, mostly in Over-the-Rhine, with windows smashed and some were looted, police have said.

The American flag was stolen outside the Hamilton County Justice Center Downtown, which also was damaged. Two doors were smashed, and two lobby doors were damaged, sheriff’s officials said.

Bullets and shots were fired into businesses including some in the CUF neighborhood, Chief Isaac said.

The following night, Saturday, May 30 into Sunday, May 31, more vandalism broke out in Clifton Heights, and a Cincinnati police officer was intentionally shot at as he and other officers dispersed a large disorderly crowd at McMillan Street and Ohio Avenue, according to the chief.

Officers had rocks and other projectiles thrown at them, he said, noting that he had to duck at times himself. Two police cruisers also were damaged, and trash bins were thrown into the street, including one set on fire.

The officer who was shot literally dodged a bullet and “but for the grace of God," the chief said, was not seriously wounded or killed when his riot shield and ballistic helmet protected him, with the bullet ricocheting off his helmet.

It remains unclear who shot at the officer.

The curfew wound up lasting a total of 10 nights and ended Monday night.

“I’m extremely proud of the response of our officers," the chief told council. "They were very professional in their response to these disturbances. When the opportunity allowed, we did not interfere with peaceful protests. Was everything perfect? I don’t believe anything ever is in law enforcement.”

On Sunday, several police officers including Chief Isaac and firefighters walked with protesters as part of a peaceful worship march called Meet Me in My Village.

The chief told protesters the department stands with them and knows of the ongoing injustices:

“Your police department stands with you. We know the injustices that are taking place. We want to stand with you and be a part of the change.”

Related | Cincinnati Police Chief Isaac takes knee as protesters cheer

On Tuesday, the chief told council:

“We continue to see demonstration throughout the day and all have remained peaceful. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in several, witness several. We will continue to support these peaceful protests.”

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