Ohio Cop Killed Black Man Holding a Cell Phone
A second Black man was shot and killed by police on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, just weeks after the tragic shooting of Casey Goodson, Jr., who was shot while holding a sandwich.
The 47-year-old victim was reportedly holding a cell phone when he was struck, according to the Associated Press. Strangely, body cameras were not activated leading up to the shooting but were activated directly afterward.
Columbus police have not released the name of the officer or the victim of the shooting, but the officer was temporarily relieved from duty with pay. Police say the name of the victim will not be released until the family is notified and the footage is reviewed.
Dash camera on the officer’s car was not activated, but police state procedure does not mandate dash camera be turned on for non-emergencies, the AP reported.
The move to relieve the officer came when Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther demanded swift action after the body camera being switched off was made public.
“While it is very early in the investigation, there is one fact that disturbs me greatly,” Ginther said in a news conference Tuesday, according to WOSU. “The officer involved did not turn on their body-worn camera until after the shooting.” “If you’re not going to turn on your body-worn camera, you cannot serve and protect the people of Columbus,” Ginther continued.
“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,” said Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan. “They provide transparency and accountability, and protect the public, as well as officers, when the facts are in question.”
The only piece of evidence that remains was retrieved through a 60-second “look back” function, which captured the shooting without audio. Body cameras have the ability to render about 30 seconds or a minute of footage, but only begin recording audio and footage when the camera is activated.
Ginther said the footage will be released within 24 hours.
According to police, the shooting happened around 1:37 p.m. when officers responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle. The non-emergency call described a man sitting in a vehicle who turned it off and on several times.
When officers arrived they found a man inside of a garage who “walked toward the officer with a cell phone in his left hand.” Police claim they could not see his right hand. The officer eventually fired, and the man died an hour later at a local hospital. There were no weapons recovered at the scene. The unidentified victim was visiting someone at the home.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation. Mayor Ginther asked U.S. Attorney Dave DeVillers to review the case for civil rights violations.