CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Another Ohio official is questioning the stance of Cincinnati leaders claiming the state’s alcohol curfew is leading to an increase in gun violence.
In a one-on-one interview Wednesday with FOX19 NOW, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said he was surprised when Mayor John Cranley and Police Chief Eliot Isaac attributed the city’s rise in violence to the 10 p.m. alcohol curfew in place to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“He’s got this one wrong,” Yost tweeted toward Cranley.
Cranley and Isaac wrote Governor Mike DeWine a letter Monday requesting he lift the ban that forces bars to stop selling alcohol at 10 p.m.
Shootings are up nearly 50% this year in Cincinnati compared to the same time period in 2019, and Cranley and Isaac think the curfew is forcing more people with guns into public and private places.
Attorney General Yost said there’s a lot of contributing factors to violent crime, but bars closing early isn’t one of them.
“The ideas that drunk people with guns are not going to shoot each other in a bar, but they will shoot each other at a party or an after-hours joint, I mean that doesn’t follow,” said Yost. “If that’s the case, let’s keep the bars open 24/7, and we will just get rid of the homicide problem.”
DeWine said Tuesday the curfew doesn’t appear to be a problem in other cities, noting that mayors in both Dayton and Columbus have commended him for it.
“[Cranley and Isaac] have described unintended consequences where people leave the bar because people can’t drink there anymore and they go off to a park or someplace else, and we understand that,” DeWine said. “But clearly the majority of mayors in the state by far believe just the opposite.”
DeWine said lawyers were looking to see if was possible for Cincinnati to be “carved out” of the statewide order.
That’s not likely, Yost said Wednesday.
“That is ultimately a decision that is up to the governor, and my legal advice to him is privileged,” Yost told FOX19 NOW. “Speaking in general, the idea that you are going to have one rule for one county, and another rule for 87 counties, generally is not something the courts look on favorably.”
Wednesday morning’s shooting death of a 16-year-old in South Fairmount is Cincinnati’s 357th shooting and 69th homicide of the year.
Bars and restaurants in Cincinnati have been under the alcohol curfew order since July 31, .
Two weeks after the order went into effect, a violent weekend in Cincinnati ended with 19 people being shot, including four who died.
Gun violence in Cincinnati has troubled city, police and neighborhood leaders for most of the year.
As violence spikes, officers are struggling to make an impact with policing tactics that normally work, police officials have told City Council.
Officers are being put in “hot spots” but it’s not as effective as in the past due to a variety of reasons including the impacts from the coronavirus pandemic and negativity toward law enforcement.