CINCINNATI — Police fired pepper balls and tear gas into a crowd of protesters still assembled outside the Hamilton County Courthouse 10 minutes before Cincinnati’s citywide curfew began Sunday night.
The crowd scattered for a moment before coming back to sit peacefully in the street outside the Hamilton County Courthouse.
Sunday's protests began with peaceful demonstrations and marching starting around 3:00 p.m. at Inwood Park in Mount Auburn. At least 1,000 people met at the park.
Organizers provided water bottles, food and medical supplies, with many protesters donning bags with crosses to indicate they had medical supplies available. The large group marched through Cincinnati streets chanting and holding signs, peacefully navigating their way down to city hall.
Organizers of the demonstration officially ended the protest at 7 p.m., but large crowds continued to gather and march throughout Cincinnati streets, eventually stopping outside the courthouse just before 9 p.m.
Police with shields and riot gear stood outside the courthouse amid barricades and protesters sat in the street with their hands in the air.
According to crews on the scene, police responded after protesters threw empty water bottles in their direction. Police then worked to disperse the crowd, firing tear gas and pepper pellets into the crowd. From there, Cincinnati Police, Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies and Ohio State Highway Patrol officers converged on crowds, forcing them down the road after firing off tear gas.
Tear gas at the Hamilton County Courthouse in Cincinnati. pic.twitter.com/S7SHVYxLyE— Craig Cheatham (@CheathamWCPO) June 1, 2020
As the night went on, police continued to march in lines, block streets and break up large crowds of protesters. Protesters scattered, regrouped and marched, while continuing to chant.
Things came to a head at the intersection of Green and Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine, where Cincinnati Police mass-arrested a large group of protesters. According to police, nearly 100 protesters were arrested in that spot, though they did not say what charges those protesters faced. Those arrested were loaded into nearby Metro buses, or police vans and driven to the Hamilton County Justice Center.
Arrests in a Cincinnati alley after another round of tear gas. pic.twitter.com/aWuG71XVD9— Craig Cheatham (@CheathamWCPO) June 1, 2020
From there, many protesters took to their cars to either go home for the night or drive the blocks around Downtown and OTR, honking horns, hanging out of windows and chanting at officers nearby. As the night progressed, even those protesters had left the area, with streets fairly empty by midnight.