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Morning Headlines: Sykes: Racism is a Public Health Emergency; Chapel Hill Theft, Summit Mall Closed

photo of Emilia Sykes
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Rep. Emilia Sykes

Here are your morning headlines for Tuesday, June 2:

  • Sykes: Racism is a public health emergency;
  • Chapel Hill Mall theft, Summit Mall closed
  • Cleveland protest arrests are mostly local residents;
  • Police arrest 4 in Akron weekend protests;
  • Canton protesters march for 4th day in a row;
  • Cuyahoga County courts remain closed amid curfew;
  • Downtown Cleveland closed through 8 p.m. Tuesday;
  • OSU student government wants school to cut ties with Columbus police;
  • Public health officials concerned about COVID-19 surge amid protests;
  • Kent State releases plan to reopen campus this fall;

Sykes to introduce anti-racism legislation
Ohio House Minority Leader and Akron-area Rep. Emilia Sykes is calling on lawmakers to declare racism a public health emergency. The Beacon Journal reports Sykes plans to introduce legislation this week to help address and dismantle racism in the area. She also said it’s time to implement recommendations made by the Task Force for Community-Police Relations appointed in 2015 by former Gov. John Kasich, after the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was playing with what turned out to be a toy gun. Cleveland City Council could vote to declare racism a public health crisis as early as Wednesday. 

Chapel Hill Mall theft, Summit Mall closed
Akron police are investigating a theft at Chapel Hill Mall. The Beacon Journal reports multiple suspects smashed a display at Gold N Diamonds and stole jewelry. It came hours after rumors circulated on social media about the possible theft. Summit Mall closed Monday afternoon as a precaution. Retailers and shopping centers across the country have been looted in recent days during protests.

Cleveland protest arrests were mostly local residents
None of the nearly 100 people arrested in during vandalism and looting in downtown Cleveland Saturday night were from out of state, according to Cleveland.com. Police Chief Calvin Williams said Sunday he believed many of those arrested were from outside the area and state who came to cause damage. Businesses on Euclid Avenue and near Playhouse Square had windows smashed and merchandise stolen. Most of those charged are from Cleveland, and about 15 are from other parts of Northeast Ohio. The charges included breaking and entering, aggravated rioting and failing to comply with police orders for incidents of vandalism and looting, while a few are accused of throwing rocks at officers. No one was charged with inciting violence.

Police arrest 4 in Akron weekend protests
Akron police arrested four people during weekend protests. The Beacon Journal reports three of the four are Summit County residents. The other, Blaine Griffin, 26, of Sandusky, is accused of using a skateboard to smash windows of police vehicles and in the Polsky building parking deck.

Canton protesters march for 4th day in a row
Protesters gathered in Canton for a fourth consecutive day. The Canton Repository reports around 300 people peacefully marched downtown. Later in the evening, a group talked with police outside Mercy Medical Center. Protestors asked a Louisville police officer who was stationed there to join the march. Instead, John Rinehart kneeled with the group. 

Cuyahoga County courts remain closed amid curfew
Cuyahoga County's court system will remain closed to the public today to abide by the curfew that remains for the downtown area through Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Most hearings have been postponed at the Justice Center and the county courthouse. The county’s juvenile court is also closed today. 

Downtown Cleveland remains closed
Downtown Cleveland remains closed to traffic Tuesday as a curfew remains in effect through 8 p.m.. Cleveland police on Monday turned away commuters who work downtown as National Guard vehicles patrolled the empty streets. All highway entrances to downtown are closed. A revised order Monday afternoon makes clear that credentialed media workers are among the essential personnel allowed to go to their jobs and may report events from the restricted area. 

OSU student government calls on school to cut ties with Columbus police
Ohio State University’s student government is calling on university leaders to cut ties with the Columbus Police Department. The groups sent a letter to university officials Monday listing five demands, including a call for the Ohio State Police department to cease contractual agreements with the department. WOSU Public Radio reports the letter references not just the Columbus Police response to protests over the weekend, where officers fired tear gas and wooden projectiles at demonstrators, but also names several black males who were shot and killed by police in recent years. The letter closes by asking for a public and private response within two days.

Public health officials concerned about COVID-19 surge amid protests
Public health officials are urging protesters to do their best to follow social distancing practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Summit County Health officials said they’re concerned the mass groups aren't wearing masks or taking other precautions, which could lead to an uptick in cases. The state has nearly 36,000 total cases as of Monday and more than 2,200 deaths.

Kent State releases plan to reopen campus this fall
Kent State University on Monday released its blueprint for resuming classes in the fall. The plan calls for a mix of in-person and online classes and a staggered return for residence halls. Fall break will be eliminated, and the last two weeks of the semester will be held remotely. The staggered return for staff will begin June 8 – students will begin returning August 17.