CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Hundreds could turn out for a protest Downtown Thursday on the heels of the demonstrations erupting in Baltimore this week.
Organizers sent out an invitation Tuesday announcing the event at the Hamilton County Courthouse, "as we stand in solidarity
with the women and men of Baltimore" who have decided to protest in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray.
"I'm good friends with the commissioner there, and we've talked. He's a strong leader. He's got his hands full," said Cincinnati Police
Chief Jeffrey Blackwell.
Gray died earlier this month after suffering a fatal spinal injury while he was in the custody of police. Authorities have not said how Gray was hurt.
Violence is not part of the plan for Thursday's protest at the courthouse, and organizers say they don't expect it either.
Police also say they do not anticipate issues, but extra patrols will be out nevertheless.
"Last night illustrated that you can't be flat-footed in situations that could evolve very rapidly. So, we'll be prepared," Blackwell
said of the protests in Baltimore.
His department is preparing for crowds of any size planning to take the courthouse steps.
"Our action here is to stand in solidarity with those men and women who decided to stand up and fight," said Brian Taylor, an organizer
with Black Lives Matter in Cincinnati. "We're not looking to have any kind of violent encounters or any kind of crazy actions."
In an online invitation to the protest that also was sent to media, organizers are calling for three demands to be met:
- The arrest and indictment of officers involved with Freddie Gray at the time of his death.
- Demanding the city of Baltimore lifts its curfew.
- Immediate release of all protesters and dropping their charges.
"This is a demonstration that truly is for everyone who wants to raise a voice,” Taylor told FOX19 NOW.
More than 300 people have responded to the group's protest invitation.
"We want to be there with them not in an adversarial us-against-you role. We'll be working over the next couple of days to define what
the goals are of the protest,” Blackwell said.