Community leaders react to death of unarmed Black man by police officer

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Reaction has been coming in Tuesday after a Columbus police officer shot and killed an unarmed Black man early Tuesday.

Nana Watson, president of the Columbus chapter of the NAACP, said she is furious. After a deadly officer-involved shooting years ago, the NAACP pushed for every Columbus police officer to wear a body camera.

In the incident Tuesday, the officer was wearing a camera, but he didn’t turn it on until after the shooting. That preserved only the previous 60 seconds of video with no sound.

“Why was that body camera not turned on? We demanded them in 2015. Here we are in 2020, and the body camera was not turned on,” Watson said. “It falls on the shoulders of the Columbus Police Department; that’s whose shoulders it rests on. Their officer did not have a body camera on.

“We want transparency. We want to make sure the BCI reports back to this community in a timely manner.”

The state Bureau of Criminal Investigation is the lead agency looking into the shooting.

Here are other statements on the shooting:

“The compounding heartbreak of learning an unarmed black man was killed last night by a Columbus police officer is beyond description. Thoughts and prayers cannot soothe this pain, and the members of Columbus City Council are beyond frustrated at this senseless death. Too many families in our community are mourning at a time when we should be seeking peace and hope. We appreciate the swift, clear action taken by Mayor [Andrew] Ginther, calling for a Federal investigation into the violation of the victim’s civil rights, relieving the Police Officer of duty, and working with BCI to immediately start an independent investigation. We are impatient for answers but insist on a thorough, professional, and complete investigation that ensures justice is done. Our prayers are with the family affected by the shooting.”

Columbus City Council

“There aren’t enough words to express the pain and anger I feel that another Black man has been killed in our community at the hands of law enforcement in less than a month. While we don’t know all the facts–what I do know is this is unacceptable. I am greatly concerned and call into question police procedures as well as the timing and inconsistent use of body cameras. I stand with the community in seeking the truth and demanding justice. My condolences go out to the family and friends of the victim.”

Rep. Joyce Beatty, Ohio’s Third District, which includes most of Columbus

Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio tweeted, “Another unarmed Black man has been killed by police, and another family is left to grieve his loss. We cannot allow this to keep happening. We need a system of public safety that builds trust in our Black communities — not fear.”

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