COLUMBUS, Ohio — Legislation that will finalize Columbus' first Civilian Police Review Board is complete and going before the Columbus City Council for consideration, Mayor Andrew Ginther announced Monday.
The legislation details the duties and responsibilities of the members which includes the authority to develop administrative rules, review cases of alleged police misconduct and make recommendations based off of their findings.
The board, which voters unanimously approved the creation of in November, is composed of these nine members selected in March:
- Mark Fluharty, executive director of Central Ohio Labor Council
- Dr. Chenelle Jones, assistant dean and chair of Public Safety Programs, Franklin University and member of the Columbus Community Safety Advisory Commission
- Willard McIntosh, retired Columbus Division of Police officer
- Pastor Rich Nathan of Vineyard Columbus
- Kyle Strickland, attorney at The Ohio State University Roosevelt Institute
- Randall Sistrunk, director of Business Development, Orange Barrel Media and member of Chief’s Advisory Panel
- Rev. Charles Tatum of the Good Shepherd Baptist Church
- Mary Younger, former Franklin County Public Defender
- Janet Jackson, former city attorney and Franklin County municipal judge, and chair of the Community Safety Advisory Commission
The city has yet to appoint the first Inspector General of the board, who will be able to launch independent investigations. The board is expected to hold its first meeting in July.
"City Council will now take up the code change and will likely schedule public hearings before making any amendments and ultimately passing the legislation before their August recess," a press release from Ginther's office states.
The Civilian Police Review Board stems from the recent shootings by police officers the city has encountered.
Ma'Khia Bryant, 16, was a Black teen who was shot and killed by a Columbus police officer April 20 after she attempted to stab another young woman, according to authorities. The officer who shot Bryant, Nicholas Reardon, has been taken off duty pending the investigation. He was hired in December 2019, according to the Columbus Division of Police.
Bryant is among the five Black children killed by police in Columbus since 2016, according to a database from the Washington Post. The deaths include Joseph Jewell, 17, in February 2020; Abdirahman Salad, 15, in January 2020; Julius Ervin Tate, 16, in December 2018; and Tyre King, 13, in September 2016.
Columbus is also at the center of two other high-profile shootings: Andre Hill, who was shot and killed by a police officer in December, and Casey Goodson Jr., who was shot and killed by a Franklin County Sheriff's Office deputy nearly two weeks after.
“Members of the Civilian Police Review Board have been appointed and will soon begin a search for an Inspector General. This legislation supplements the City Charter changes made by the voters and represents the next important step in making the Board and Inspector General part of the police reforms we seek," said Ginther.
On April 28, Ginther requested the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Columbus Police Department to evaluate current efforts to reform its force, as well as identify any racial disparities that exist within the division.
The Justice Department also opened probes into policing in Louisville, Kentucky, over the March 2020 death of Breonna Taylor, and in Minneapolis following last year’s death of George Floyd.