2 Columbus police chief candidates come with unanswered questions

NBC4 Investigates

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– As the City of Columbus prepares to name the finalists for the next Chief of Police, NBC4 Investigates has uncovered details that raise questions about two of the people on Mayor Andrew Ginther’s short list.

NBC4 Investigates looked into the background of all nine people the mayor’s office said would be interviewing for the job this week. One resigned amid a celebrity scandal, and another is at the center of a pending ethics case.

Bryan Norwood currently works as Vice President of Public Safety for the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Airport Authority. Prior to taking that job in 2014, he was Chief of Police in Richmond, VA.

Norwood resigned as top cop in 2013 after California investigators called into question community service hours he said had been completed by singer Chris Brown.

Part of Brown’s sentence was 180 days of community labor for a 2009 felony assault charge. A Los Angeles judge allowed Brown to complete the labor in his native state of Virginia, where he owned a home.

According to a motion filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, which sent investigators to Richmond after noticing inconsistencies in the reporting of Brown’s community labor hours, there was “no credible, competent, or verifiable evidence” that Brown had completed his 180 days of labor.

The motion states that Norwood had signed letters claiming Brown had completed the terms of his sentence, while evidence indicated that on more than one occasion Brown was attending red carpet events and traveling internationally when he was reported to be picking up trash in Richmond.

Norwood never spoke with the DA’s investigators, according to the motion. An attorney for the Richmond Police Department told the investigators she had drafted the letters for Norwood to sign.

In a farewell letter published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Norwood did not specifically mention the Brown case. However, he wrote, “The latest legal allegations against both the Richmond Police Department and me are not at all aligned with my personal or professional work ethic and it is my belief that in time, the truth will prevail.”

NBC4 Investigates requested to speak with Norwood through the MWAA, but he has not responded to that request.

Another Columbus police chief hopeful is accused of misusing a city credit card.

Chief Derrick Diggs, of the Ft. Myers, FL Police Department, allegedly used the card to buy meals, boots, and satellite radio for himself or others, according to a probable cause finding in September by the Florida Commission on Ethics.

The commission told NBC4 Investigates the case against Diggs is still pending.

When reached by NBC4, FMPD declined comment.

A statement from the department in September said, “All the credit expenditures were appropriate and within city policy. Each receipt was forwarded to finance and authorized… The department is confident the facts will clear up any confusion around the credit card purchases.”

Ginther’s office declined to answer questions regarding the backgrounds of any of the chief candidates.

“It would be a disservice to the process and the candidates for Mayor Ginther to engage at this point,” said Robin Davis, Ginther’s deputy chief of staff.

The mayor’s office said it will release a paired-down list of finalists for the chief job Monday, ahead of a virtual town hall with those finalists Wednesday evening.

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