Multiple social media accounts have posted video of apparent police in Columbus, Ohio apprehending a protestor and escorting them into an unmarked van.
- Described by some users as appearing to be “paramilitary,” the personnel in question wore vests emblazoned with the word “police” and wielded assault rifles. One seemed to hold a can of pepper spray.
- They dressed in jeans, T-shirts, and baseball caps and drove an unmarked van with blacked out windows.
- Some video footage shows the unmarked vans stopped near groups of protestors. The apparent police then exit the vehicle and seem to escort a presumed protestor into the vehicle before driving away.
- In one video, when a person off-camera asked, “What the [expletive] is going on?” a vest-wearing figure holds up a hand and only says, repeatedly, “stay back.”
- One video portrays a marked police vehicle nearby. Another shows the marked police vehicle following an unmarked red van as it drives away.
- Numerous social media users expressed explicit outrage on Twitter.
@Mayor[ Andrew J. ]Ginther[ (D-OH)]… Who are these people? We're using some sort of paramilitary [expletive] now? Despite repeated requests, none of these men identified themselves. You need to tell us who they are right [expletive] now, you useless lump.
The Columbus Dispatch also describes the figures as police and reports that when they arrived, they searched for Jay Rocc, who was present at the protest.
- Police found Rocc and established a safety zone around him, the Dispatch describes. They confiscated an AR-15 he had brought to the protest and was visibly carrying, but they did not arrest him. Police say the weapon was used in another crime.
- Police arrested a different, unidentified individual. The Dispatch writes, “The status of the arrested man is unknown; information requests to the police and mayor’s office have not been returned.”
Watch the video.