At least 15 people were arrested and one deputy injured during protests in Dayton on Saturday, according to Police Chief Richard Biehl.
An overnight curfew expired at 6 a.m. today.
Two people were arrested for felonies and 13 for misdemeanors, the chief reported. About one third of those arrested were not from Dayton, Biehl said.
A Montgomery County sheriff’s deputy received an ankle injury and was transported for treatment.
Other officers were injured but were able to maintain their position, Biehl said.
He called it a “challenging night” for regional law enforcement but that officers did a good job “maintaining this disorder” in a “compliant” way.
Dayton had peaceful protesters who wanted to get their message across, but the city also had some people who wanted to participate in civil disorder and dangerous situations, Biehl said, adding there are ways to have voices heard while abiding the law.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley praised law enforcement for protecting residents and those who came downtown to protest Saturday, adding that most people protested peacefully.
The mayor issued a curfew for downtown and the Oregon District, which started at 9 p.m. and ended at 6 a.m. Sunday until the threat to public safety has been eliminated. She said people would be arrested if they were found on the street past the curfew.
“It’s clear this afternoon as the protests disseminated we had some folks that were less about the issue of what we’re talking about and more just wanting to cause trouble,” said Whaley. “We expect that to happen tonight.”
The curfew includes the Oregon District and downtown and extends east from Keowee Street, north and west from the river and south from Sixth Street.
“The curfew for downtown Dayton starts NOW and goes until 6 a.m.,” Dayton police tweeted at 9 p.m. “Protesters need to disperse or you will be subject to arrest.”
Biehl applauded Whaley for issuing a 9 p.m. curfew for the area and said it was important for maintaining public safety.
Most crowds left the downtown area once the curfew went into effect.
However, officers deployed tear gas at Courthouse Square in Dayton shortly after a curfew went into effect for the downtown area and Oregon District following a day of protests.
There were three reports of shots fired on Saturday, but none were confirmed, Beihl said.
One of those reports included an incident near Third and Jefferson streets shortly after the curfew went into effect.
As crowds dispersed, two gun shots were heard in the area of Third and Jefferson streets. Police were seen running toward the area. A witness told our reporters that a man had shot the gun into the air and ran into a bar on Jefferson Street.
Police forced their way inside MJ’s on Jefferson, but could not find a suspect, Biehl said.
Greater Dayton RTA buses will be running Montgomery County Emergency Operations at 10 p.m., according to Montgomery County Emergency Operations.
However, some buses may not be able to get to sites due to demonstrations and gatherings. People should seek buses outside those areas if they need transportation.
RTA will post details and updates on social media.
During the evening protests, some protesters were seen vandalizing parts of the Dayton Safety Building on Third Street.
Shouting “Black Lives Matter” and “I can't breathe,” hundreds of people converged on downtown to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The protesters began getting more violent, throwing rocks and other objects at police. People holding long guns were seen walking down sidewalks.
Police began using tear gas on protesters at the intersection of Third and Ludlow streets around 7:30 p.m. and continued for the next hour dispersing crowds who would not back away from the safety building. They also began shooting rubber bullets toward protesters, who threw some canisters back toward the police.
People yelled chants in front of Courthouse Square asking for change in government and police action.
One protester jumped on a Dayton Police cruiser parked on Third Street that was tagged with graffiti.
Whaley said there were “a handful of arrests” earlier this afternoon, but was not sure what the charges behind the arrests were.
“I am very pleased by the vast majority of folks here in Dayton,” the mayor said. “There are a couple of folks that aren’t really about the protests and are really about more destroying property. We have to make sure that we protect public safety. Because of that we decided to institute this curfew.”
Whaley said that the protests were peaceful, loud and what the city expected.
“The protest goes fine,” she said. “It’s the dissipation of a couple people trying to get on the interstate, trying to cause some problems.”
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