COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The third day of trial ended swiftly for a Columbus police officer accused of false claims that led to a George Floyd protester’s arrest, but is still far from over.
Sergeant Holly Kanode is the first of three officers from the Columbus Division of Police to see time in court over her alleged actions on May 30, 2020. She’ll now see a second week of trial, as the judge moved Thursday to pause proceedings for both the rest of the day and Friday.
Kanode faces nonviolent misdemeanors including falsification and dereliction of duty. Body camera footage showed Kanode helping arrest protestor Nadia Lynch while telling another officer that the person grabbed a third officer and jerked him to the ground. Prosecutors showed other video evidence in court which they argue showed Lynch didn’t do what Kanode claimed she did.
“I was thrown down on the ground, at which point, I was kind of protected because I felt, like, getting pummeled and I just put my hand over my head, just to protect my head,” Lynch said Tuesday in court.
Because Kanode waived her right to a jury, her attorneys are making their case directly to Judge James O’Grady. What happened on the day in question isn’t being disputed, but Kanode’s attorneys are arguing that what the sergeant did is not criminal. Their case says there’s no way to prove what Kanode thought she saw amid the chaos of the protests.
“The evidence will show that Sgt. Kanode had no other purpose other than to relay the information of what she had believed she believed she had seen on May 30, 2020, definitely with no purpose to incriminate,” lead defense attorney Mark Collins said.
The charges stem from an independent investigation led by prosecutor Kathleen Garber and investigator Rick Wozniak. Wozniak, a retired FBI agent, also said charges against more police officers could be possible beyond Kanode and the two others awaiting trial. When prosecutors called on 60 officers to answer questions about the 2020 protests after the death of George Floyd, only six of them agreed to do so, according to the city’s Department of Public Safety. Five police officers did so only after being guaranteed that they would not face prosecution.