COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Two civil lawsuits have been filed against the City of Columbus and the city’s police department, among other defendants, for the city’s response to the 2020 protests that erupted downtown as a result of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Two separate lawsuits were filed on May 27 in the United State District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, one day shy of the two-year anniversary of the alleged incidents. In addition to the city, one of the lawsuits names former Columbus Chief of Police Thomas Quinlan, Officer Matthew Houser, and several other police officers as defendants.
The plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit are:
- Ellen Hanna Adbur-Rahim
- Elizabeth Andromeda
- Duck Bardus
- Tanya Bils
- Ryan McMullen
- Morgen Morrisette
- Nicholas Pasquarello
- Cole Ramsey
- Gwen Short
- Helen Steward
- Lena Tenney
The plaintiffs all alleged mistreatment by various officers during the protests that included, but was not limited to, the use of flash-bang grenades, pepper spray, tear gas, wooden bullets and false imprisonment by police on protesters. The lawsuit seeks punitive damages in excess of $25,000 as well as any other relief deemed appropriate by the court.
The second lawsuit named the police department, officer James Long, Sgt. Michael Ramsey and an unspecified number of unnamed officers. It was filed by Gaige Treadway, who is listed as the sole plaintiff.
In the lawsuit, Treadway alleged he was pepper-sprayed at point-blank range. As he was leaving the scene, the lawsuit stated Treadway flipped off police officers, at which point, he alleged he was chased down, grappled from behind, and had his face mask ripped off.
Treadway said he was arrested, held in a temporary holding facility, then held at Franklin County Jail for two days before posting bail. On June 9, charges against Treadway were dismissed, according to the lawsuit. Treadway is seeking unspecified damages.
The protests ran daily from May 28 through June 9, with the first clash between protesters and police being reported on May 29. Several businesses were damaged during the protests.
The city’s attorney’s office dismissed most charges filed against protesters related to violations of the curfew put into place at the time. Only three officers are facing misdemeanor charges for their alleged actions during the protests.
The lawsuits are below.