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Columbus Council President Calls For Police Reforms

A Cincinnati police officer escaped injury when his helmet was struck by a bullet during a police brutality protest early Sunday while in Columbus a fire considered suspicious destroyed a nearly completed apartment building. 

The fire at the four-story Residences at Topiary Park burned for hours, causing part of the roof and several floors to collapse. An attempt was made to set fire to another apartment building under construction next door. Police deployed pepper spray against protestors at the Statehouse last night after they say they were pelted  by water bottles. Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin tweeted that he, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, and Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce were hit with pepper spray or mace during Saturday's protest downtown. Beatty spoke with several media outlets Sunday, including Jo Ingles at Ohio Public Radio:

But Council President Hardin says they were at the peaceful protest and a few people got out of hand. Hardin issued an official statement says he's seen instances of police violence, and calling for several police reforms, including creation of a citizen review board and implementation of a series of recommendations issued last year in the Matrix Report. The Columbus Urban League is calling for a national economic protest by asking people not to go to work today.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has called out the Ohio National Guard and asked the highway patrol to help help enforce laws in Columbus and Cleveland, which are under 10 p.m. curfews amid protests over the death of George Floyd. DeWine says the vast majority of protesters wanted "simply to be heard" but their voices "are sadly being drowned out by a smaller group of violent individuals." Police say a protest in Dayton Sunday included no violence. Peaceful gatherings were also reported in Springfield and Piqua. Organizers are planning a community vigil tonight at Springfield City Hall in memory of George Floyd. Community leaders will share their thoughts on Floyd's death, followed by a moment of silence in his memory. 

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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