Shannon Hardin was furious. Hardin, the Columbus City Council president, along with Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce and U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty, had just been pepper-sprayed by Columbus police at a Statehouse protest over the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
So Hardin called his longtime mentor, Michael B. Coleman, the city’s first African-American mayor – someone whom he had literally grown up with at City Hall beginning more than two decades ago.
Hardin vented. He told Coleman what police did was wrong.
“He was listening. He wanted me to be careful and calm in my thought processes,” Hardin said. “My eyes were still burning.”