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ACLU Files Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Columbus Police

Jan 13, 2021

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio has filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of a Columbus man who was arrested in 2019 for filming a Columbus police SWAT team serving a search warrant in his neighborhood.

Jim Letizia reports.

Nick Pettit was arrested after recording officers hitting a compliant teenager without provocation. The lawsuit says officers told Pettit to stop and go inside. Pettit did not, and told officers he was on private property.

Two officers and a sergeant then slammed him to the ground, threatened him, took his phone, and arrested him. Pettit was jailed for five days and charged with "misconduct at an emergency."

The city attorney dropped the charge based on insufficient evidence.  Among other things, the suit alleges police violated Pettit's right to record the incident on his own property. Sergeants James Morrow and Joseph Podolski, and officers Kenneth Dale and Glenn Thivener are named as defendants.  

A Columbus police spokesperson says the division does not comment on pending litigation. 

In 2019, Dale was cleared by a grand jury for his role in a fatal 2018 shooting during a standoff.  Also that year, the Columbus Police Firearms Review Board ruled Thievener and another cop acted within policy when they returned fire and killed 25-year-old Kaitlin Demeo while she was barricaded inside a Whims Road home.

In 2017, the board also cleared Thivener for his role in the shooting of convicted cop-killer Lincoln Rutledge.

In 2014, a grand jury declined to indict Thivener for his role in the shooting death of Danny Thornton.