COLUMBUS (WCMH) – One man already involved in a federal civil lawsuit against the Columbus Division of Police tied to last summer’s protests is speaking out about Wednesday’s announcement of charges being brought against three officers.
Both the attorney and the victim in that lawsuit, Rick Lane, 31, said the announcement is the first step toward justice for everyone.
Lane, who said he was pepper sprayed during the protests, said he didn’t see it coming. He recalls helping another woman who was stumbling around.
Lane said he had his back towards Officer Phillip Walls in the moment, and that’s when he got pepper sprayed.
After seeing the charges against Walls and two other Columbus officers, Officer Traci Shaw and Sergeant Holly Kanode, Lane said he is not frustrated that it’s taken about a year for charges to be filed.
Lane and his attorney, Jeff Vardaro, believe more officers need to be held accountable for what happened in those summer protests, saying the videos speak for themselves.
“My complete attention was on the woman that I was helping,” Lane said. “She could not assist herself in that situation and I felt that wanted my complete attention.
“It is what it is,” he added. “We’ve arrived at this moment when things are starting to show up, videos are starting to show up, things are being done about it.”
Noel Williams, part of BREAD, an organization that represents congregations across the city, said she’s please to see something come out of the investigation, saying it is a show of good faith when it comes to rebuilding trust with the community.
“It’s good to know that the investigation is ongoing and it’s also good to know that there is a report on what has been going on, so it’s transparency and it’s to say to the community, ‘Here’s what’s going on, here’s where we are, and here’s what has happened,’” Williams said.
She added the wheels of justice grind slowly and she looks forward to hearing more into the investigation if and when the case goes to court.