(COLUMBUS, Oho) Rev. Frederick LaMarr arranged a meeting at Family Missionary Baptist Church between Columbus police officer Anthony Johnson and Jonathan Robinson — the man he punched last week.
LaMarr says the meeting was not about the facts. It was about healing.
“You don’t have to excuse people but you understand why they do what they do and we came away with that,” LaMarr said.
Robinson was arrested last Friday for obstructing official business and disorderly conduct after he defied a police officer’s order to back away from an active scene where officers were investigating reports of gunshots.
The confrontation was caught on cellphone video and then widely distributed on social media.
The video triggered comments about excessive use of force.
Police released body camera footage that clearly shows Robinson refusing to comply with an order to “back up.” That’s when Officer Johnson steps in and punches Robinson in the left side of his face.
LaMarr says others attending the Wednesday afternoon meeting included interim Columbus Police Chef Thomas Quinlan and Robinson’s family members.
LaMarr says he asked Robinson and his family members to talk about cultural sensitivities. He asked the police to talk about procedure and protocol.
He posted pictures of the meeting on social media.
“My thing is community,” LaMarr said. “What does the greater community see and is this going to affect the greater community. Let’s change the picture now because the longer we wait the more it’s going to fester.”
“To see the police and community who had just been in a quote-unquote confrontation but now they’re sitting down shaking hands, it dispels all that,” LaMarr said.