COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A Columbus police officer charged with misconduct after last summer’s downtown protests is expected to head to trial.
Officer Traci Shaw faces three counts each of assault, interfering with civil rights, and dereliction of duty for allegedly pepper-spraying a group of people walking away from the protest.
Special prosecutor Kathleen Garber, who was hired by the City of Columbus to investigate officer conduct at the protests, subpoenaed several officers to speak at pre-trial hearings for Shaw and two other officers currently facing charges. Garber has said multiple times that she and special investigator Richard Wozniak have had trouble getting officers to participate in interviews.
The union and attorneys representing the officers have argued the officers have a right to not participate in the investigation.
A hearing was scheduled for Tuesday morning to address a motion to quash a subpoena filed for Lt. Tim Sansbury. The subpoena and motion to quash were then withdrawn and the hearing was canceled.
Garber and Lathan Lipperman, Sansbury’s attorney, both said they withdrew as a trial date for Shaw is expected to be scheduled in the near future.
Outside the courtroom, Garber said she felt “frustrated” that she likely won’t hear from any of the officers until they take the witness stand during the trial.
“Officers typically work with the prosecutor to provide information and to prepare for trial,” Garber said. “In this case, because they’re not providing any information, they will be taking the stand and we’ll be finding out along with everyone else, what they saw that day.”
In an emailed statement to NBC4 Investigates, Lipperman accused Garber of “weaponizing the subpoena process.”
“The problem is that no testimony is typically given at a pretrial, which Special Prosecutor Garber acknowledged. These officers are more than willing to come to trial and provide testimony at that time; however, they are not going to be bullied into forgoing their rights and providing Special Prosecutor Garber with an interview prior to trial. Garber brought charges against Officer Shaw and she should have made sure she had the evidence to support those charges prior to filing them.”Lathan Lipperman, attorney for Columbus Police Lt. Tim Sansbury
Shaw pleaded not guilty to the charges against her.
The two other officers charged have also pleaded not guilty. Pre-trial hearings for Sgt. Holly Kanode and Ofc. Phillip Walls are scheduled for Nov. 8.