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Columbus Officials Ask Department Of Justice To Investigate Police

Columbus Division of Police Central Headquarters.
David Holm

Columbus city officials are asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Columbus Division of Police. The request comes after an officer in the department fatally shot Ma’Khia Bryant last week.

In a letter to the DOJ, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein asked for an evaluation of CPD’s police reform efforts to determine whether they are sufficient or working. They also asked the department to investigate whether racial disparities exist in CPD that impact things like use of force, discipline and hiring practices.

City officials say they will cooperate with the DOJ to advance police reform.

The letter states that in the case of the city and the Fraternal Order of Police disagreeing on suggested action items, the DOJ can order those changes through the court system. If it comes to this, the letter says “we will fully support these efforts because we share the ultimate goal of reforming policing practices in the City of Columbus.”

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #9 issued a statement in response to the letter, saying that politicians' rhetoric is increasing crime in the area by creating contempt for officers.

"Columbus is directly seeing the impact of this rhetoric, as the City is on pace to break the homicide record in 2021."

FOP's statement says that most people appreciate police officers' work, and that Lodge #9 members will continue to do it despite this letter.

"Our members will continue to protect and serve their communities and conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism, even when our city leaders and politicians do not," the letter says.

Ginther and Klein asked the Department of Justice to formally begin the requested investigation within the next 30 days.

Read Ginther's letter to the Department of Justice.

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.