DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, members of the City Commission and Dayton Police held a press conference regarding Sunday night’s curfew which began at 7 p.m.
The boundaries for the curfew are all areas within the City of Dayton that are north from
Stewart Street, south of the Great Miami River, west of Keowee Street, and east of the
While Mayor Whaley acknowledged that the city experienced several hours of peaceful protests on Saturday in response to the death of George Floyd, she says that by nightfall, “Our community’s peaceful protests were co-opted by individuals intending to do damage to our community.”
“The City supports every resident’s right to protest this national tragedy. However, we cannot ignore civil unrest that violates public peace and threatens our safety,” she said, adding that the curfew extends to the same downtown area as Saturday’s, though it could be made city-wide if necessary.
City Manager Shelley Dickstein says residents and businesses should go about their normal business, but vehicle traffic within the core of downtown near Courthouse Square will be limited until the curfew is lifted.
“Residents will be permitted to enter, exit, and leave the downtown area during curfew hours. Businesses will be permitted to operate normally until the curfew,” she said, though she recommends residents consider staying home during curfew hours, even if they are not in the downtown area.
Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl released this statement Sunday:
“A large group of individuals engaged in protests in downtown Dayton today. They marched for a couple of hours and then dispersed without incident. The conduct of those who demonstrated showed that one can engage in lawful protests and still effectively communicate their concerns and advocacy for social justice.
Dayton Police Officers did make at least two arrests downtown after the curfew was in place.
There was also a large group of demonstrators that gathered peacefully at McIntosh Park and then dispersed.”Dayton Chief of Police Richard Biehl
Chief Biehl said 36 people were arrested during Saturday night’s protests, of those people, 12 of them were not from the Dayton area. 33 of those arrests were for misdemeanor offenses, while three were felony arrests.
Biehl says damage was done to several businesses in the protest area including Greater Dayton Premier Management, Lily’s Bistro, the Victoria Theatre, many businesses in the Fire Blocks District, and multiple parts of Sinclair Community College. This damage ranged from broken windows to graffiti. Biehl noted that of particular concern was a potential incendiary device that was found after crowds had dispersed.
Vehicular traffic was a particular risk, as Biehl says many were driving erratically in the area and in some cases traveling the wrong way down one-way streets. He added that the department “had to draw the line” when protesters began to make their way toward US 35.
“The driving traffic downtown was frightening. It was absolutely frightening,” he said.
Police vehicles were also damaged and a Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy was injured. Biehl says the department is still working through reports of assaults against other officers.
Officers responded to three calls of shots fired in the area, and although police could not pin down the source of the gunfire, Biehl says “without doubt” there were shots fired downtown Saturday night.
“This was not a lawful event, this was not a helpful event in any way,” Biehl said of the events that transpired after the peaceful protests. “For anyone who felt there was a need to protest, this was not the way to do it and we can’t accept that as it puts too many people at risk, so the unfortunate action taken was necessary and appropriate.”
Officials recommend that people stay at home during curfew hours, solely to prevent large groups of people with the intent of harming the community to gather and the looming threat of COVID-19.
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