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Protestors Shut Down City Council Meeting Over Police-Involved Shootings

Sep 26, 2016

Credit ohioorganizing.org

More than 100 protesters stormed the Columbus City Council stage tonight, demanding justice for Tyre King and Henry Green - two black teens shot and killed by Columbus police earlier this year.

They chanted in unison and unfurled a banner that read "Justice for Henry Green." Council president and Democratic candidate for Franklin County Prosecutor Zach Klein ordered staff to evacuate.

The meeting was halted for 30 minutes as a group of 20 police officers removed protestors from the building. Police Chief Kim Jacobs remained inside and had no comment. Last week, protestors demanded the city end the police summer strike force that targets crime hot spots, redirect half of the police budget to other programs and pushed for independent investigations into officer-involved shootings. Protestors like Tammy Alsaada and James Jones say the strike force unfairly targets black neighborhoods. They say they got no answers to their demands last week, so they came back tonight and will continue protesting in the future.

While that protest was taking place, 150 demonstrators gathered on the OSU campus and moved to the Ohio Union where they staged a "die-in" for 13 minutes, one for each year of King's life. Once the council meeting resumed, Klein made a statement.

The panel then adopted a new ethics policy for council and its staff as part of reforms approved last March in the wake of scandals involving a former city hall lobbyist. Columbus Human Resources director Brian Shinn is council's new ethics officer.

The measure requires more employees to file financial disclosure statements, and prohibits public officials and municpial employees from lobbying for one year after leaving the city.