View the full march in the video above.
COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Hundreds of protesters were joined by a number of Columbus Police officer, including Chief Thomas Quinlan, at a march Monday night in the wake of the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
“We completely disagree with the actions of that officer,” Quinlan said of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with murder in Floyd’s death. “He should have been fired, and he should have been charged.”
Starting at Broad and High streets, the large crowd marched for about 20 minutes, with protesters mingling with officers as they moved.
While some protesters became emotional, mostly there were calm conversations between the protesters and the officers.
Earlier in the day, Quinlan answered some tough questions about how his department has handled this weekend’s protest, which at times turned violent.
“I want them to have their voices heard,” Quinlan said. “As the chief, I want to hear what they have to say. I want to fix problems, that’s what I’m here for.”
After days of downtown protests, the Columbus Police Department is facing accusations of aggressive policing, with officers using tear gas and pepper spray.
“Everybody wants to say something should be done differently,” Quinlan said. “I get that, I understand it, and I respect it.”
He said it is his job to protect the city and the people in it, and he believes his officers are doing just that.
“The facts are, there are people here, that are going to hurt others, have hurt others, and are destroying businesses and landmarks and we have to put a stop to it,” Quinlan said.
Columbus remains under a state of emergency declared by Mayor Andrew Ginther, imposing a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew on the city. The curfew remains in effect indefinitely until lifted by the mayor.
Police are also facing scrutiny after Congresswoman Joyce Beatty was pepper sprayed while she said she was trying to diffuse a tense situation.
Quinlan said all actions by officers will face appropriate consequences.
“Mistakes can be made, but that’s why we train, that’s why we discipline, and that’s why we hold people accountable,” Quinlan said. “And we will do that, we will continue to do that, and we’ve always done that.”
Moving forward, his message to the public is Columbus will get through this together, and calls for change will be heard.
“We are going to work together to get this done, and they have a commitment from all 2,300 members of the Columbus Division of Police that that will happen,” Quinlan said.
The chief said his goal during these protests is to protect the rights of those who want to protest peacefully while still protecting the city from those who would do it harm.
Earlier in the day, Stonewall Columbus called for Quinlan’s resignation, among other changes within the city’s police department.