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Activists Demand More Accountability From Columbus City Council And Police

People's Justice Project/Facebook
Hana X Abdur Rahim, a leader of the People's Justice Project, protests at a rally for Timothy Davis.

Community activists are following up on demands they made last week about Columbus Police behavior with a protest Monday evening. Disciplining one officer, they say, is not enough to repair lost trust.

After the arrest of Timothy Davis on September 1, Officer Joseph Bogard, who was heard on body camera saying officers should "choke the life" out of an arrest suspect, has beenrelieved of duty. Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs says the department launched investigations into both Bogard and the arrest incident itself.

lawsuit was also filed on behalf of Davis, alleging that Columbus Police used excessive force and failed to properly discipline officers.

But The People's Justice Project, along with families of black men who have been killed by Columbus officers, are demanding further answers.

Lead organizer Tammy Fournier Alsaada says she's concerned that police think placing Bogard on desk duty is enough of a response.

“My other concern continues to be in the first video of Timothy Davis' arrest, and I did leave a copy with the City Council, what appears to be the sodomy of Timothy Davis, that is yet to be addressed by anyone in a position of power to address it," Alsaada says.

A video that went viral on Facebook showed officers kicking and punching Davis as he resisted arrest. He was being arrested on a warrant alleging he assaulted an officer last year. During the process of the arrest, Davis' pants and boxers appear to come off.

Alsaada says she wants to see the city invest in community change.

“I'm not real concerned about what Chief Jacobs and her department will say, because they have a pattern of continuously covering up the abuse of their officers," Alsaada says. "But I am very concerned to hear what our city leadership will say.”

Last Monday, the PJP presented a list of demands to City Council, including ending the use of plainclothes officers and firing Jacobs. They also demanded that Columbus Police officers undergo mandatory mental health, racial bias and de-escalation trainings.

“We don't expect justice from a broken system," Alsaada says. "But what we will continue to do is to organize and develop leaders that will lead and build the city that we want for our families, and those of us who really love and care about Columbus."

Columbus Division of Police Deputy Chief Michael Woods will be speaking at tonight's city counil meeting in response to the demands. 

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.