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Columbus Funds Independent Review Of How Police Handled George Floyd Protests

Columbus Police confront protesters at a demonstration downtown on June 2, 2020.
Paige Pfleger
Columbus Police confront protesters at a demonstration downtown on June 2, 2020.

Columbus leaders announced a $250,000 independent review of the police department and city's response to recent protests in Columbus. 

The Columbus general fund and Columbus Division of Police will jointly pay for the review.

It will not be an investigation into individual protesters' reports about police brutality – those are being performed by the City Attorney's Office. Instead, it will be a macro-level look at the way the city and police department responded to thousands of residents taking the streets over the last few months.

Trevor Brown, dean of Ohio State University's John Glenn College of Public Affairs, and former U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart will lead the review.

“This is a moment of pain for Columbus and for so many cities across the country, but it's also an opportunity for self-reflection and for us to grow as a community,” Stewart says. “And that's essentially what this research project is intended to do.”

Stewart says they will hire a team of researchers and community members to interview protesters and officers, and bring in third party-experts to come up with policy changes.

“We will make research informed recommendations for how the city can respond better to future such incidents,” Stewart says. “The end result will be a written report, which will be given to the city council.”

The review will be completed by the end of the year, and will be peer-reviewed before publication.

The review is the latest response by Columbus leaders to recent calls for police reform. Columbus City Council also announced plans to pursue a Civilian Review Board to examine police misconduct cases, and are considering how to demilitarize the department. The city also created restrictions on the use of chemical agents on demonstrators, following criticism over the deployment of tear gas and pepper spray on nonviolent protesters.