A member of the Ohio National Guard was suspended from service after posting white supremacist views online, Gov. Mike DeWine announced in a Friday afternoon news conference.
He did not identify the guardsman by name but said the man was among 100 Ohio National Guard members serving in Washington, DC, during ongoing protests condemning police brutality against black Americans.
“Anyone who displays a malice toward specific groups of Americans has no place in the Ohio National Guard,” DeWine said.
DeWine said he had also charged Gen. John Harris, who leads Ohio’s National Guard forces, with developing an internal procedure to ensure the incident would not repeat itself.
The protests in Washington and elsewhere began as an expression of outrage over the death of George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died May 25 with a police officer’s knee on his neck. Floyd had been accused of using a fake $20 bill at a neighborhood deli.
Over the course of the next several days, however, the protests bloomed into a large-scale renaissance of the Black Lives Matter movement. Demonstrators in Cincinnati and Columbus have invoked the names of Tamir Rice, Sam DuBose and Timothy Thomas, all unarmed black Ohioans who were shot to death by police.
Rice was 12 years old at the time of his death. Thomas was 19.
DeWine said the latest round of protests would spur him to take a close look at Ohio’s existing policing practices, including the ways in which they lead to disproportionately violent and fatal outcomes for black Ohioans.
“I am committed to making tangible changes in police oversight, accreditation, training and accountability,” he said. “Our goal is to improve the professionalism of the profession … and make it a community that does not show, at any time, any problems connected with police conduct.”