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Cranley Bumps Up Monday Curfew, Addresses Complaints Over Recent Arrests

cincinnati protest vandalism
Bill Rinehart
Vandalizism on at streetcar station on Vine and Garfield following protests the night of Friday, May 26, 2020.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said the citywide curfew will begin at 8 p.m. Monday evening. That's an hour earlier than Sunday night, and two hours before the one on Saturday evening.

Cranley had enacted the curfew Saturday following protests Friday night and early Saturday morning that resulted in criminal damage and looting at several business in Over-the-Rhine. He said the decision on how long the curfew will remain in place will be a day-to-day decision based on conditions.

Since Friday evening, protesters have been marching in various parts of Cincinnati to honor George Floyd, an African American man in Minneapolis who died last Monday while being arrested by police. The offending officer has since been fired and is now facing charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Cranley said a police officer was shot Saturday night but wasn't injured because the bullet lodged in his protective helmet. Other officers have been spat on and had objects thrown at them.

The mayor said it's a dangerous situation and people have a responsibility to take care of themselves. Cranley said the curfew is not voluntary, it's the law.

"This is not a joke, this is serious," Cranley said. "If you want to avoid, at a minimum, a really uncomfortable night at the Justice Center, whether it's inside or outside, or on a bus or anywhere else, then please obey the curfew."

Sunday night into early Monday morning, Police Chief Eliot Isaac reported 307 arrests. The chief reported that includes 161 males and 116 females. Of those arrested, 168 were white, 99 African American and eight listed as other.

Some of those arrested were housed in an outside area at the Hamilton County Justice Center. On Monday, WVXU received two different messages with a video where people claim to have gone nine hours without food, water and restroom access, though WVXU has not been able to verify the veracity of these videos.

The mayor and chief addressed that during Monday's call, saying the large group led to challenges for deputies who were working to provide food, water and trips to the restroom for those arrested. Cranley said there were lines and limited supplies.

"We're not suggesting this was a pleasant experience; it was not," Cranley said. "And we're sorry about that. But it is also the case that we will continue to enforce the curfew."

Cranley said he spoke with Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil about providing more deputies to help process those arrested more quickly and to open closed portions of the justice center for more space.  Cranley said he also shared those concerns with County Commission President Denise Driehaus.

Cranley also said for the short term he has no intention of asking Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to activate the Ohio National Guard to help keep peace in Cincinnati. He said as long as Cincinnati officers are able "they will be our first line of defense."

Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.