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Columbus City Council leaders ask for protester charges to be dropped

Now that Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther has rescinded the citywide curfew, city council leaders are asking for charges of violating curfew and failure to disperse to be dropped.
WBNS-10TV

COLUMBUS, Ohio - During the first five days of protests downtown, the Columbus Division of Police arrested 92 people.

Now, city council leaders want some of those protester charges to be dropped.

On Sunday, Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin and President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown made pleas to have the charges of violating curfew and failure to disperse dropped.

"First Amendment rights are paramount, and this past week has been a profound and historic display of those rights in Columbus," Brown said in a statement. "We should not police free speech, and people certainly do not need to face penalty by their government for exercising theirs."

Hardin cited the mayor rescinding the citywide curfew that had been in place for a week prior to Saturday when it was dropped after the filing of a federal lawsuit claiming it violated the U.S. Constitution.

"Folks don’t need to be penalized for peacefully assembling and making their voices heard," Hardin said in a statement. "The City should be focused on implementing the recommendations of the Community Safety Advisory Commission.”

Klein responded shortly after that.

"As of late last week, the City Attorney’s Office has already dismissed several curfew cases after completed review," Klein said in a statement. "We continue to review allegations of violence on a case-by-case basis. Only those charges with sufficient evidence will be pursued. As your city attorney, I stand with those exercising their constitutional right to demand a new culture of justice in Columbus.”

Of those 92 people arrested, 34 were arrested on failure to disperse charges, and 23 were arrested on violation of curfew charges.