by J.D. Davidson
In response to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and the protests that follow across the country, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced new standards for law enforcement officers in the state.
DeWine said a new statewide minimum standard for response to mass protests and demonstrations were adopted by the Ohio Collaborative Community-Police Advisory Board after he called on the board to address both chokeholds and mass protests following Floyd’s death.
Also, changes were made to the state’s minimum standard for use of deadly force, which now largely prohibits chokeholds and similar maneuvers, according to DeWine’s office.
“We must rebuild trust between the public and law enforcement, and these changes continue to build on Ohio’s work to improve community-police relations,” DeWine said. “Law enforcement agencies that are certified in the Ohio Collaborative’s standards show commitment to following, and oftentimes exceeding, Ohio’s best practices for serving and protecting our diverse communities.”
The new mass protest standards call for law enforcement agencies to develop a policy that protects the public and officer safety while upholding the constitutional rights of expression, assembly and freedom of the press. DeWine said the policy should restrict the fewest freedoms possible; limit the use of force, coercion and intrusiveness; target only harmful behaviors and conditions; and deploy predictable and unbiased tactics.
Protests began around the country in late May following the killing of Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
In Columbus, protests centered around the downtown area, mostly at Capitol Square. Those protests were met with heavy police presence.
More than 100 businesses were vandalized, along with numerous government buildings. The city of Columbus enacted a curfew, and DeWine called in the Ohio National Guard to maintain order.
Those protests led to two Ohio Republicans introducing a bill that stiffens penalties for rioting, looting and violence toward peace officers in the state.
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J.D. Davidson is regular contributor to The Center Square. He is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in his home state of Ohio, as well as Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.