Mayor of Ohio's largest city calls for officer's badge and gun after fatal shooting of unarmed Black man
COLUMBUS, Ohio - An Ohio police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man in the state's largest city early Tuesday while responding to a no-911 call. Hours later, an angry Mayor Andrew J. Ginther ordered the police chief to take the officer's badge and gun.
"The church is exhausted," said Ginther.
The officers involved in the incident did not turn on their body cameras until immediately after the shooting. However, they were recorded because the camera is recording 60 seconds of footage before it is turned on. It also appears that there have been delays in providing assistance to the man, according to the city's public security bureau.
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The shooting comes less than three weeks after a Franklin County's deputy sheriff shot Casey Goodson Jr., a 23-year-old black man, in the Northland area of Columbus. This shootout has sparked protests and calls for justice. The investigation into this shootout is being led by US attorney for the southern Ohio district, David DeVillers.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther speaks outside Columbus City Hall on Tuesday after an unarmed black man was fatally shot.
Police spokesman Sgt. James Fuqua said officers were sent to a no-911 call on the northwest side of the city at 1:37 am because an SUV was on and off for a long time. Fuqua said the complaint came from a neighbor.
At a press conference that afternoon, Ginther and officials from the city's Department of Public Security revealed more details about the shootings.
When the officers arrived on site, they found the garage door of a house open and a man inside.
The man who was visiting someone's home approached officers with a cell phone in his left hand and an invisible right hand. This revealed a check by city officials of one of the body-worn camera footage of the respondent.
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An officer fired his gun and beat the 47-year-old black man who later died in the OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.
A gun was not recovered from the scene.
The man's name was not released until the family was notified. Police officers involved in shootings in Columbus are not identified for at least 24 hours after the shooting, per Police Department guidelines.
"The body-worn camera footage also documents a delay in providing first aid to the man," said a press release from the city's Ministry of Public Security.
The officer involved in the shooting was taken on administrative leave. He will not return to work until he is cleared by an independent psychologist according to the release.
Ginther said he took the extra step of asking Police Chief Tom Quinlan to remove the officer from duty - equivalent to a suspension - based on what he saw on the footage.
Quinlan has ordered the officer to be released from duty, and the city officials said the officer must surrender his badge and weapon. This removes all police powers from the officer until the result of the criminal and internal investigations is available. The civil servant is paid according to the union contract during this time.
Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents worked on the scene of a deadly shooting Tuesday.
"None of the officers at the crime scene activated their body-worn cameras until immediately after the shooting. Due to a 60-second review function of the cameras, the shooting itself was recorded on video," said the city's press release. "However, the feature does not record any audio during this 60-second review window, so communication (between the victim and the officers) is not recorded immediately before or during the actual shooting."
Ginther said the fact that none of the officers who responded turned on their body cameras until the shooting "bothered him very much".
"It is unacceptable to me and the community that officials didn't turn on their cameras," he said, citing the $ 5 million investment the city made in purchasing the cameras. "If you don't turn on your body camera, you can't work in our city."
The taped Bodycam footage is expected to be released on Wednesday, and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation will conduct a "thorough, independent investigation," Quinlan said in a statement.
"We promise that we will provide as much transparency as possible to both investigators and the public," said Quinlan. "Our community deserves the facts. If there is evidence that any law or policy has been violated, officials will be held accountable."
This article originally appeared in The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio Officer Fatally Shots Unarmed Black Man on Non-Emergency Call
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