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Bodycam footage shows officers clearing group that breached Columbus police headquarters

Columbus police said protesters forced their way through locked doors at the headquarters. One man is accused of assaulting an officer.
Credit: Columbus Division of Police
Columbus police release bodycam footage showing officers clearing group that breached downtown headquarters.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Police used pepper spray on a group of people who briefly breached outer doors at the Columbus Division of Police's downtown headquarters Tuesday night.

Columbus police said protesters forced their way through locked doors at the headquarters. One man is accused of assaulting an officer, striking him with a wooden club.

Hunter Mattin, 20, was charged with aggravated burglary. Police are reviewing video to identify additional suspects.

Columbus police held a briefing Wednesday afternoon about the protests.

The break-in followed a largely peaceful vigil and protest earlier in the evening.

At 8:41 pm., the group went to S. High Street in front of the McKinley Statue where police say they blocked traffic and eventually forced traffic to go in the wrong direction.

About 40 minutes later, police say the protestors approached the front of the headquarters and made it into the building.

Officers used mace after the protestors made their way into the building.

Police say the division is conducting a criminal investigation of Tuesday night's protests.

When more people who committed crimes during the protests are identified, police say they will work with the prosecutor's office to file charges.

"We as a city cannot tolerate Columbus police officers being assaulted by violent protestors," said Columbus Deputy Chief Gregory Bodker.

Deputy Chief Bodker said they are not concerned about peaceful protests.

Protesters Tuesday invoked an officer-involved shooting earlier in the week at St. Ann's hospital as well as the killing of other Black men by police nationally, including the Sunday shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb. 

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther backed the protesters' cause but denounced the attempt by a few to later enter police headquarters.

"We share the frustrations over police killings of unarmed Black men, and we support nonviolent protests," Ginther, a Democrat, said in a tweet. “That does not include breaking into public buildings or violence against officers. Let me be clear: Violence and destruction will not be tolerated.”