Columbus officials today announced the members of the police chief's advisory panel and set new limits on the use of spray agents to disperse crowds.
"Let me be clear," Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther said. "Tear gas and pepper spray will no longer be used to break up peaceful protests."
Columbus officers have been criticized for their tactics in dispersing crowds that were protesting police brutality and racism. During the first weekend of the protests, video showed three public officials being pepper sprayed including Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin. The chief's panel will further explore police reform and includes 14 members selected by the mayor and city council. Hardin says Chief Tom Quinlan had no input in the selections, and the group has complete autonomy.
"These are folks who we believe bring a diverse background from HR consulting to criminal law and folks who are just in the community who have the ear of our neighbors," Hardin continued. "They are not connected to or directed by any of us. They will be loose to give their direct opinions and insight to the chief and feedback back and forth between the chief and the community. That's what we really wanted, folks with independent voices and clear voices."
Members of the chief's panel include Black, Out and Proud's J. Love Benton, the Latina Mentoring Academy's Lourdes Barosso de Padilla, and Columbus Community Safety Advisory commissioners La Shaun Carter and Tammy Fournier Alsaada. Chief Quinlan says the division is committed to making positive changes regarding police tactics and policies - and this panel will have a role in those efforts.
"It will act as a sounding board for me regarding community needs, concerns and expectations as well as provide community feedback to current and proposed police programs and priorities," Quinlan said. "It will serve as a direct conduit between the chief's office that establishes policy and the community who wish to voice how policies are impacting the community."
Quinlan says he and the group will meet monthly with the first session beginning in July.
Here's the full list members provided in the city's full release:
· Aba Azeem, Vice Chair of the Create Columbus Commission
· Lourdes Barosso de Padilla, Director of the Latina Mentoring Academy
· J. Love Benton, Vice Chair, Black, Out and Proud
· James Burke IV, President Columbus National Pan Hellenic Council
· LaShaun Carter, Chief Diversity Officer at Franklin County Children Services and Columbus Community Safety Advisory Commissioner
· Stefanie Coe, Commissioner, Civil Service Commission
· Yaves Ellis, Pastor and Director of Community Affairs at Urban 1
· Tammy Fournier, Founder and Organizing Director, Peoples Justice Project and Columbus Community Safety Advisory Commissioner
· Florence Latham, Human Resources Consultant and Executive Coach
· Kristy McCray, Associate Professor, Otterbein University
· Diane Menashe, Partner, Ice Miller
· Andrew B. Pierce II, Undergraduate Student, John Glenn College of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University
· Randall Sistrunk, Director of Development, Orange Barrel Media
· Erin Upchurch, Executive Director, Kaleidoscope Youth Center