Police shot another unarmed Black man in Columbus, Ohio, early Tuesday. They did not have their body cameras turned on during the incident, which led the mayor to call for the removal of the officers who opened fire.
Mayor Andrew Ginther said that he was disturbed and it was “unacceptable” that the officers didn’t have their cameras recording during the incident.
He said, “So let me be clear, if you’re not going to turn on your body-worn camera, you cannot serve and protect the people of Columbus.” He added, “I have asked Chief Quinlan to remove the officer-involved of duty and turn in his badge and gun.”
The shooting happened in the 1000 block of Oberlin Drive, just two weeks after law enforcement fatally shot a 23-year-old Black man named Casey Goodson as he entered his grandmother’s home.
On Tuesday, around 1:30 a.m, two officers in separate cars responded to a disturbance call about a running vehicle where they found the 47-year-old man in the garage.
Police say that based on camera footage, the victim walked toward an officer with a cell phone in his left hand; however, his other hand couldn’t be seen. One of the officers then fired their gun and shot the man, who later died at Riverside Hospital.
The victim and the officers involved have yet to be named.
Neither of the responding officers turned on their body-worn cameras until immediately after the shooting. Police say that because of a 60-second “look back” function, the shooting was captured on video; however, the video had no recorded audio.
The preliminary report suggests that someone at the home was visiting the victim. At the scene, a weapon was not recovered. The body-worn camera video also documents a pause in first-aid rendering.
Police say that because this was a non-emergency call when the officers arrived, no running lights and sirens were involved. As a result, the dash camera in the police cruiser was never triggered.
The Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan said in a statement, “The Division invested millions of dollars in these cameras for the express purpose of creating a video and audio record of these kinds of encounters. They provide transparency and accountability, and protect the public, as well as officers when the facts are in question.”
The officer involved in the shooting will not return to work until an independent psychologist has cleared him. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation will handle the case.
“This is a tragedy on many levels,” the police chief said. “Most importantly, a life has been lost. That must be our focus going forward.”
He added, “We promise that we will provide as much transparency as possible on our part, both with the investigators and the public. Our community deserves the facts. If evidence determines that laws or policies were violated, officers will be held accountable.”