COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Columbus Division of Police has issued a statement saying officers have not been asked to “stand down” to protesters.
The statement follows an incident Tuesday in which a driver’s vehicle was surrounded by protesters on South High Street at approximately 7:15 p.m.
The statement says the incident does not sound like a situation where officers would have used tear gas even before Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther’s call Tuesday for police to reign in the use of pepper spray and tear gas to disperse crowds.
The statement, posted to the department’s Facebook page, reads:
CPD officers have not been asked to “stand down” to protesters. No direction that Mayor Ginther has given to Chief Quinlan over the last three days would have prevented police officers from intervening in a situation where a car or a person within it were being attacked. If people or property are threatened, there are many tactics at the disposal of police to address the situation. However, the incident described does not sound like one in which tear gas would have been considered appropriate before this week’s direction.
According to a police report, the Tuesday evening incident involved approximately 75 protesters surrounding a vehicle and climbing on top of it. The victim told police the protesters were “extremely aggressive once they observed an Ohio County Sheriff’s decal on his rear window.”
The police report states officers were able to get the man and his vehicle safely away from the area.