Columbus Fraternity of Police President weighs in on how to protect and handle protesters

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus Police officers who were monitoring protesters Thursday night were forced to declare an emergency after a few demonstrators began damaging property while some broke into the Ohio Statehouse.

Police around the nation including some in Ohio are speaking out against the actions of the Minneapolis police officers whose actions resulted in the death of 46-year-old George Floyd.

As the protests in Columbus escalated, Keith Ferrell said their message of injustice was lost.

Ferrell is the the president of Capital City Lodge #9, a Franklin County chapter for the Fraternal Order of Police.

“You can’t let those few bad apples, like in our situation, ruin it for everyone else,” said Ferrell.

He said protesters damaging property is not helping solve the issue of police brutality and he believes protester violence makes a bad situation even worse.

Ferrell said violent protests take officers off the streets and away from other emergency situations, which places other people in Columbus in danger.

“I understand that people feel like they haven’t been heard. That’s troubling. I get that,” said Ferrell. “But this isn’t the answer. It’s not. More violence is not going to solve anything. What happened last night, what did it solve? Where are we at today? We’re in no better place.”

Several officers and police chiefs in central Ohio spoke out on social media about what happened in Minneapolis.

Ferrell said when it comes to peaceful protest, it’s every officers duty to protect the protester. Ferrell added once it turns violent and people start damaging property, those duties change.

He believes now more than ever the “bad apples” on both sides cannot dictate the conversation, and says everyone should work together.

“I do believe, for a lot of people, that’s exactly what they wanted to do,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that they didn’t get that opportunity as much as they liked. I don’t think that everyone, by any means, wanted it to go down like it did last night.”

Ferrell wants to find common ground where police and people in the community can work together and believes this is the time to think outside of the box. 

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