COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin is calling for ‘real police reform,’ saying police, at times, went too far during protests Saturday.
Hardin, along with Congresswoman Joyce Beatty and Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce, was among those who were pepper sprayed by police during Saturday’s protests.
“In this righteous fight for justice, in this righteous fight against racism, there is no place for violence. There is no place for looting. There is no place for folks taking a peaceful protest and running away with it for their own personal means,” said Hardin. “This is about moving our community forward.”
Hardin said 99% of the protesters out Saturday were just trying to make their voices heard. He acknowledges some tried to take advantage of the situation.
Police also went too far at times, according to Hardin.
“The time for commissions and studies is over. The time is now that we really start talking about, or implementing, real police reform.”
Hardin is proposing establishing independent investigations into police use of force, including negotiating a civilian review commission into the next police contract. He also says Columbus needs to change the use of crowd disbursal techniques, as recommended by the Matrix report.
He also says Columbus needs to implement the Community Safety Advisory Commission’s recommendations and the rest of the Matrix report.
The Matrix report is a review of Columbus law enforcement conducted by a team of consultants, employees of the Division of Police, city staff and the community working together since the winter of 2018-19.
“We need to see each other. We really need to see each other’s pain, where we’re coming from. We need to take that breath so we can get to the table and create the change that we all know is necessary,” said Hardin. “These protests, these rallies are happening on streets all across America. If there’s any city, if there’s any community that can roll up their sleeves and deal with the problem of structural racism, it is Columbus.”