Mayor Andrew J. Ginther has announced that Columbus will join a national campaign designed to reduce police use of force and violence. It's called the 8 Can’t Wait movement and it's has gained momentum nationwide in recent weeks following the May 25 death of George Floyd. The campaign focuses on eight policies and calls for the abolition of police as its end goal. Ginther said Wednesday he does not approve of defunding or doing away with the police division, a stance echoed by City Attorney Zach Klein and City Council President Shannon Hardin during a Wednesday press briefing.
The pillars of the campaign include:
‒ Banning chokeholds
‒ Exhausting all other means before firing a weapon at a suspect
‒ Requiring a warning be given before officers shoot at a suspect
‒ Requiring deescalation
‒ Banning firing at a moving vehicle
‒ Requiring a use-of-force continuum
‒ Comprehensive reporting on use of force and other incidents
‒ Requiring officers who see their colleagues engaging in wrongdoing to intervene.
Columbus police have had a use-of-force policy in place since the late 1980s, according to the division’s directives. The division also currently bans the use of chokeholds and firing at moving vehicles unless it is a life or death situation and those means must be used to protect an officer or bystander. Officers are also supposed to report any type of misconduct that they see by other officers.
Ginther said the division also requires deescalation. He said there are immediate steps being taken to bring the division more fully into compliance with the other pillars. One of those steps will be to require reporting of incidents where officers pull a firearm during an incident, whether or not that weapon is fired. “If an officer points a gun at someone, it needs to be recorded and reported,” Hardin said. “The current rules don’t require that. These recommendations would fix that issue. These are safe and sensible guidelines that are small steps, but that are important functions of building up trust.”
In an interview 2 years ago, Ginther expressed his view that police / community relations had never been more complicated.
Just yesterday he announced that police would no longer use chemical spray to disperse crowds