The Columbus Dispatch
During the 2012 Red, White & Boom celebration, there were dozens of police officers at the fireworks. Most of these officers were clumped in bunches near the Scioto River and simply watched the fireworks along with the hundreds of thousands of spectators.
After the show ended and people started walking back to their cars, things turned violent. A gang of approximately 30 black youths (both male and female) started walking and running down Broad Street and randomly assaulted white people — old people, children, women.
I was first aware of the violence in front of the church at the corner of Third and Broad streets. One block east of there, a man crossed the street through the traffic holding his crying son. They clearly had been assaulted. When others asked if they were OK, he said, “No, we're not OK; we got separated from my wife and daughter, and they're still over there.”
Finally, two Columbus officers were seen slowly walking toward the scene of this violence. At this point, the black youths crossed the street to the opposite side of the officers and started randomly attacking more white people on the north side of Broad Street. I know; I was assaulted by five different youths.
At this time, the police meandered to our side of the street. Some of us went to the officers and said, “Do something, innocent people are getting assaulted right here on Broad Street.” One officer replied, “We don't have enough officers.” After seeing the dozens of officers near the riverfront, I went home feeling this officer’s answer was a poor one.
Clearly, the Columbus Police Division had brought in all the officers it could for this large gathering. Also clearly, they had not formulated a plan to ensure the safety of Columbus residents.
Broad and Third streets are at the heart of Downtown. Thousands of people were walking down these two streets after the fireworks to get back to their cars. Yet, there were no, or embarrassingly few, police officers anywhere to be seen on these streets.
I'm glad the police officers got to see the fireworks and remain safe in numbers, but I wonder if that was the reason we paid them overtime wages for a night's work.
The police officers remained clustered near the waterfront, yet no one had the vision to spread them out along the exit venues of the event to protect the citizens.
Shame on the Columbus Police Division. Red White and Boo.