The City of Columbus has established an email to report instances of excessive force by police that took place over the weekend at protests downtown.
During an online press conference this afternoon, Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther renewed his commitment to addressing racism while also acknowledging the shortcomings in the way things were handled:
"I accept full responsibility, I'm the mayor," Ginther said. "I accept full responsibility for the engagement and the tactics used by the division of police on Saturday. They did not meet my or the community's expectations. I had a very direct conversation with the chief on Sunday morning, and I think you've all seen a very different approach. We encourage and support peaceful protests. We believe that dissent is the greatest form of patriotism. There's a big difference between peaceful protests and criminals who are coming from extremist fringe groups to destroy and try to burn down our city and create violent situations and threaten our officers. Our focus is on protecting peaceful protesters and making sure they're safe - and going after a very small minority of folks (most of which who do not live here) that do not share our values and getting those folks out of the street and stopping them from hijacking a great movement to address racism and discrimination."
Ginther says anyone with photos, videos, or accounts of Columbus police using excessive force over the weekend should email them to reportCPD@columbus.gov. He says the information will be investigated by a civilian (outside the chain of command) from the Department of Public Safety's Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance Office, which was created last year to address discrimination complaints.
As for the change.org petition calling for the mayor and Columbus Police Chief Tom Quinlan to resign, Ginther responded this way.:
"I get criticized every day for things that we do or that we do not do," Ginther continued. "The chief of police is a high-profile community leader in charge of police and how we best serve the community. I accept the criticism. I accept my role. My job as a leader is to be accountable, accept responsibility, admit mistakes when mistakes are made, and make changes when necessary. That is the way I have served throughout my entire career. I look forward to continuing to call out discrimination and racism wherever we find it and continuing to address it for meaningful change. Racsim and discrimination is a great threat to the health and to the safety and well-being of the people of Columbus."