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Protesters paint red handprints at Statehouse, DeWine expresses 'anger and disgust at the vandalism'

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said the Ohio State Highway Patrol is conducting a criminal investigation.
Credit: WBNS-TV
Red handprints at the Ohio Statehouse on June 18, 2020.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine expressed "anger and disgust at the vandalism" after a protest left red handprints on the Statehouse Thursday evening.

The handprints could be seen on the Statehouse steps as well as the phrase "Hands up don't shoot" on the building.

The protest follows many large crowds in downtown Columbus over the past several weeks as people continue to gather against racial injustice.

DeWine issued the following statement on Friday:

“I have spoken with Ohio State Highway Patrol Col. Richard Fambro about security at the Statehouse, and I shared with him my anger and disgust at the vandalism that occurred at the Ohio Statehouse yesterday. I support the right to peacefully protest. However, defacing, damaging, and vandalizing our state capitol and its grounds are wrong, and such actions are criminal. The Ohio State Highway Patrol is conducting a criminal investigation into yesterday’s acts, and they will send their findings to the appropriate authorities for potential prosecution.”

Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and House Speaker Larry Householder also commented on social media about the painted protest.

"If that was their intent I hope they will show up with cleaning supplies tomorrow to clean up the mess they made," Husted said on Twitter when posting an article from the Columbus Dispatch about the paint which said the protesters wanted to make a statement.

"There is no excuse that night after night the Ohio Statehouse gets beaten, spray painted & abuses. The Statehouse isn’t only Ohio’s seat of government but it is POST #1 OF THE HIGHWAY PATROL. Governor, protect the taxpayers property NOW, OSHP have some respect for yourself !!!," Rep Householder tweeted.

A spokesperson for the Ohio State Highway Patrol said in an e-mailed statement on Friday, "Yesterday afternoon several protestors who had been on the west side entrance of the Statehouse began to commit a spontaneous act of vandalism by applying red paint to several exterior surfaces. When the Patrol learned of the actions troopers were sent to the area to stop the protestors from causing additional damage. The Patrol will conduct an investigation to document the property damage and attempt to identify the multiple suspects involved."

Crews could be seen spraying the paint off the Statehouse Friday morning.

Credit: WBNS-TV
Workers clean paint off the Ohio Statehouse on June 19, 2020.