For Immediate Release
July 1, 2020
City Engages Independent Investigator, Law firm to Investigate Police Response to Protests
Community Leaders Named to Form Civilian Review Board
Mayor Andrew J. Ginther announced the hiring of two independent entities to handle investigations into Columbus Division of Police responses to recent protests. The independent law firm BakerHostetler will handle investigations that are flagged for administrative review. A professional investigator and retired FBI agent will investigate incidents for potential criminal charges.
“I have seen images and videos over the last several weeks that disturb me – including the pepper-spraying of non-violent activists, media and elected officials,” said Mayor Ginther. “Our Department of Public Safety has been reviewing hundreds of complaints, and it is now time to send them for independent evaluation.”
On June 1, Mayor Ginther set up that an email hotline outside of CPD chain of command for people to send complaints, video and photographs. The Department of Public Safety and a member of the faith community continue to review the complaints.
To date, approximately 40 incidents will be turned over to BakerHostetler and 16 incidents to the investigator. Many incidents from the hotline are still under initial investigation by Public Safety, and there are additional complaints that have come into the Internal Affairs Bureau of CPD that are also still being reviewed. It is likely that more will be forwarded the independent investigators.
In addition, the Mayor seated a workgroup to structure a civilian review board, a recommendation from the Columbus Community Safety Advisory Commission.
“In creating this workgroup, I selected subject matter experts and key community stakeholders who will help guide important decisions including how the board will be seated, how it will operate, and what powers will be afforded to the board.”
Mayor Ginther also stressed that the board must have subpoena and investigative powers.
The workgroup includes:
- Jasmine Ayres, community organizer, Peoples Justice Project
- Fred Benton, attorney
- Bo Chilton, President, and CEO, Impact Community Action
- Dr. Lewis Dodley, IMPACT Community Action
- Stephanie Hightower, President, and CEO of Columbus Urban League
- Pastor Frederick LaMarr, President, Baptist Pastors Conference
- Kent Markus, General/Bar Counsel, Columbus Bar Association
- Jonathan McCombs, Dean of College of Health and Public Administration, Franklin University
- Ismail Mohammad, attorney, Ismail Law Office
- Densil R. Porteous, Chair, Create Columbus
- Aslyne Rodriguez, Director of Government Affairs, COTA
- Janay Stevens, President, John Mercer Langston Bar Association, Associate, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP
- Kyle Strickland, Senior Legal Analyst, Kirwin Institute
- Erin Synk, Director of Government Relations, LNE Group
- Nana Watson, President, NAACP Columbus
- Anthony Wilson, Vice President National Organization of Black Law Enforcement – Columbus Chapter