Local activists set up a memorial for Tyre King on the steps of the Athens County Courthouse Wednesday morning and have since continued to honor victims of police brutality.
The memorial consists of posters, signs, candles and chalk drawings, including the names of victims of police brutality. A police officer shot and killed King, who was 13 years old, in Columbus after he pulled a BB gun from his waistband, according to NBC News.
"Essentially we’re taking this space to mourn him, to say his name, to keep saying it. To put this in the public eye," Emma Goldman, one of the protesters, said. "I mean, a 13-year-old child was murdered less than two hours from Athens. The response of the city was pretty fast."
The memorial also includes the slogans “Say his name” and “Why did the cops kill me?” “Say his name” is a reference to a lyric in the song "Hell You Talmbout" by pop artist Janelle Monáe that focuses on police brutality.
"Justice 4 Tyre King" graffiti was found around Athens and Ohio University’s campus early Monday morning. Goldman emphasized that the group at the courthouse today was not affiliated with whoever was behind Monday's painting incident, but they did “respect the intent behind it.”
Almost an hour after the memorial was erected, about three constables, who are in charge of court house security, and Athens County Commissioner Charlie Adkins told the protesters they would have to move the memorial next to the courthouse steps rather than on them. Adkins told the protestors they could not hang anything along the side of the building.
“There’s a safety issue here because of the steps,” Adkins said. “That’s where people would come out for the fire escape from the upper floors.”
Adkins also added that the chalk drawings could be considered vandalism.
“We think it’s fitting to put his name on the courthouse,” Goldman said. “It’s like a symbol of justice.”
The protesters refused to budge and have since continued to add to the memorial.
“It’s bulls--t, this is a public space,” Ryant Taylor, another protester and a former OU student, said. “We have a right to be here.”
At one point, the crowd of protesters grew to more than 20 people.
The city commissioner and the constables did not come back.
“They can’t block entrances and they can’t leave anything unattended,” Lenny Eliason, another Athens County Commissioner, said. “They’re allowed to assemble there as long as they’re not creating too much noise.”
Some protestors said they plan to stay at the courthouse "indefinitely."
"We're grieving right now," Goldman said. "We just want to be together."