Columbus City Council to vote on $475,000 payout to former police officer in racial intimidation suit

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus City Council is set to vote Monday night on a $475,000 payout to settle a lawsuit filed by a former police officer over racial intimidation within the department.

The lawsuit was filed in August 2018 by Karl Shaw, a Black officer who alleged that four years ago, a white sergeant directed racial slurs at two Black officers and said that he needed to take them out back and kill them.

Shaw also said that white officers were given credit and recognition for his work and that the sergeant threatened him in a text message to a white officer.

“One of the reasons we think this case is particularly outrageous and says a lot about the Columbus police department is that all of this was known through their own investigation, including the fact that the sergeant admitted that he made that texted threat to Carl,” said Shaw’s attorney, Fred Gittes.

Gittes said the sergeant remains employed by Columbus police.

As part of the settlement, the city agrees that future cases of proven discrimination will be termed “critical misconduct,” making it a fireable offense.

In a statement, Mayor Andrew Ginther said this in response:

“Racism has no place in the Columbus Division of Police — or anywhere else in this community. It is inconsistent with our values and with our city charter. Officer Shaw went through the proper internal channels when the incident occurred, but was still the victim of retaliation. An extensive Internal Affairs Bureau investigation gave the offending officer a written reprimand. This case represents the status quo and the past. It cannot represent our future and underscores the need for civilian oversight and independent investigations.”

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther

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