Protesters skeptical about civilian review on Columbus Police using excessive force

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Protests turned violent in Columbus on the first day, but most have been peaceful during the past four days. The community has been calling on action by city officials and Mayor Andrew Ginther after complaints of officers using excessive force during some of the protests.

Ian Brandeberry and his roommate say they were protesting peacefully when they say officers tackled and arrested them.

“At some point, I see [my roommate] get hip checked and tackled to the ground,” Brandeberry said.
“They wouldn’t tell us what we were being charged with, wouldn’t give us water or let us use the restroom.” 

Residents like Brandeberry are wondering why this happened to them and what will be done about it. Mayor Ginther announced situations like these would be investigated and is asking for people to send evidence of excessive force by the Columbus Division of Police to a special email address for civilian review.

“There are places where this is not an issue and it just sucks to be reminded how bad the racial tensions are in Columbus,” Brandeberry said.

Joanna Marshall lives one block off of High Street and she said she saw excessive force used on Saturday. 

“I saw someone shot in the hand and she looked to me like she thought her hand was broken,” Marshall said. “The crowd actions at that point did not level that warrant of force.” 

Many protesters who were injured or arrested are taking legal action and won’t speak with the media until their case is resolved.

“I think it’s reasonable to hold police to a different standard than everyone else,” Marshall said.

Brandeberry and Marshall sent their complaints to the new civilian review board set up by Mayor Ginther.

“We want to see all the instances where police acted inappropriately,” Mayor Ginther said in a social media post.

Marshall says she stands behind the idea of a civilian board but doesn’t agree with who is on the panel.

“I think it’s a joke,” she said.

Mayor Ginther says the cases will be investigated by a civilian outside the chain of command from the Department of Public Safety’s Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance Office.

“It will be made up of Asst. Dir., Deputy Dir. and we’ll also have a faith leader that will be a part of that group,” Mayor Ginther said.

Brandeberry says he’s still not confident in Columbus’ leaders even with this new protocol.

“I don’t have a reason to think they’re looking out for our best interests,” he said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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