Counter-protesters wearing “Black Lives Matter” gear targeted Representative Candice Keller (R-OH-53) after her speech this past weekend at a Save Our Children Rally in Columbus. Keller is an avid pro-life legislator and creator of the Ohio Heartbeat Bill.
Keller and her husband Kent – a write-in candidate for the Ohio Senate – attended the rally. In interviews with The Ohio Star, Keller states that she and her husband were walking back to their cars when they noticed people recording and following them. Every time the couple looked back, the group stopped and stared – but continued taping.
“My husband and I saw a group of five to six people following us and filming us. They were wearing Black Lives Matter t-shirts and masks. I knew they were following us because I dropped a business card, and when I stopped to pick it up they stopped, too.”
Keller spoke at another event earlier in the day advocating for Ohio reopening from COVID closures. It wasn’t until after Keller spoke at the Save Our Children Rally that the group began to follow the couple. The group trailed the Kellers from the Statehouse toward Riffe Center Parking Garage.
When the group persisted to follow the pair, Keller flagged down several State Patrol officers. The officers stood with Keller on Capitol steps while Keller’s husband continued on to their vehicle. The group did not leave. They followed Kent until he turned into an alleyway with parked police cars. Only then did the group stop.
“I was alarmed at how aggressive they were – they got close. I’m not sure how I would’ve felt if my husband weren’t there to protect me,” stated Keller. “I don’t know if they were trying to provoke me by videotaping us.”
Despite The Columbus Dispatch positioning the gathering as a far-right conspiracy theory-seeded event, Ohioans of different races, sexual preferences, and even political persuasions showed up to the Statehouse on Saturday. Pictures and videos posted on the event page show that the event was peaceful and diverse. In one picture, two lesbians prayed with a former Crip gang member turned BLM activist. The original event page on Facebook has since been deleted.
Representative Keller wasn’t certain as to what inspired her pursuers.
“My second speech on human trafficking – that’s an issue everyone finds it repulsive. I’m not sure why that was the lightning rod issue. That’s why [their behavior] was unexpected.”
It is unclear whether the pursuers intimidation tactics stemmed from a trending belief that all Save Our Children events are covers for political groups and alternative motives. All conspiracy theories aside, Ohio ranks as the 5th worst state for human trafficking.