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Mayor Takes Officer’s Badge, Gun For Failing To Activate Bodycam Prior To Shooting

Columbus, OH – The mayor of Columbus ordered the police chief to suspend an officer on Tuesday just hours after he failed to activate his bodycam before an officer-involved shooting.

“It is unacceptable to me and the community that the officers did not turn on their camera,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday night.

“Let me be clear,” Ginther continued. “If you’re not going to turn on your bodyworn camera, you cannot serve and protect the people of Columbus. I have asked Chief Quinlan to remove the officer involved from duty and turn in his badge and gun.”

The officers on the scene activated their bodycams right after the shooting and because the cameras also capture the 60 seconds prior to activation, the incident was caught on video.

However, the audio does not begin until after the fatal shooting.

The incident occurred at about 1:37 a.m. on Dec. 22 when officers responded to the 1000-block of Oberlin Drive for a noise complaint, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Columbus Police Sergeant James Fuqua said a neighbor had called police to report that someone who was running an SUV off and on.

When the responding officers arrived at the address, they found a garage door open and a man inside, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Police said the man was visiting someone in the home.

City officials who reviewed the bodycam said that the man walked toward the officers holding a phone in one of his hands, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

However, his right hand was not visible in the bodycam.

One of the officers fired his weapon and shot the 47-year-old suspect, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

He was transported to OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital where he later died.

Public safety officials who viewed the bodycam also said it showed that officers delayed in rendering first aid to the wounded suspect.

Police did not find a weapon at the scene, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

The officer-involved shooting comes on the heels of protests over the deputy-involved shooting of 23-year-old Casey Goodson in the same county earlier this month.

Franklin County sheriff’s deputies do not wear bodycams so there was no video of that incident.

The mayor didn’t release many details about what led up to the shooting during his media availability but focused instead the officers’ failure to activate their bodycams prior to the incident.

“While it is early in the investigation, there is one fact that disturbs me greatly,” Ginther said. “The officer involved did not turn on their body worn camera until after the shooting. A function of the technology provides a 60-second lookback, recording 60 seconds prior to the camera being turned on. But the lookback function does not record any audio. So while we have video of the shooting itself, we have no audio of what the officer said or the gentleman who was shot and killed.”

The mayor said the city had spent $5 million to outfit its police with bodycams “for situations just like this.”

He said he asked Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan to take the badge and gun of the officer who shot the suspect.

The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, as is protocol for all officer-involved shootings, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

Ginther said the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) was handing the investigation into the officer-involved shooting.

The mayor said he has also asked the U.S. Attorney’s office to review the investigation and ascertain whether any civil rights may have been violated.

Officials have not released the name of the officer, nor have the released the name of the suspect who was killed, citing a need to notify family first.

Ginther said the city planned to release the bodycam on Wednesday, the Columbus Dispatch reported.

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Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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