Columbus city attorney calls for swift reform in wake of protests

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said in a statement Sunday his office is ready to enact reforms detailed in a city-wide police review commission report.

“As the chief legal counsel for the City of Columbus, I soon will have concrete calls for action to address our City’s handling of this weekend’s protests and reform policies to move the city forward, including the swift implementation of many recommendations made by Matrix Consulting and our citizen-led police review commission,” Klein wrote in the statement.

The commission’s report, released last August, found that more than half of black employees within the Columbus Police Department experienced discrimination and that black Columbus residents had a less positive view of police than the population as a whole.

Klein’s statement comes after four days of protests in downtown Columbus which, at times, resulted in damage to businesses and property, and 59 people arrested Saturday. Police also used pepper spray and tear gas on several occasions. Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther instituted a curfew from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. for the city, and it remains in effect until he rescinds it.

Klein’s full statement reads:

“As the chief legal counsel for the City of Columbus, I soon will have concrete calls for action to address our City’s handling of this weekend’s protests and reform policies to move the city forward, including the swift implementation of many recommendations made by Matrix Consulting and our citizen-led police review commission.

“For generations, our residents have called for change. As it relates to the Columbus Police Division, that means addressing systematic racism impacting the Black community and the way we police our community. We are not alone in that struggle as was painfully clear in Minneapolis, and in cities across the country, this past week.

“We have not listened or acted with the urgency our communities of color deserve. Perhaps the first, best step towards building legitimate trust is owning our shortcomings, our mistakes, and our ability to use positions of public trust to ensure equitable justice for all.

“I hear you and see you, Columbus – as you’ve protested and as hundreds of our residents have reached out to me this weekend. Please know that my office received a summary of all the arrests and charges made this afternoon, and we are reviewing them as swiftly and thoughtfully as possible. “I pledge to join you and take action now to reform the culture of justice in our city. And I want you to hold me, and all our leaders, accountable.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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