Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther spent much of his appearance at Wednesday's Columbus Metropolitan Club forum responding to the state of community/police relations, which he acknowledged have never been more strained.
An officer was fired in July for kicking a suspect already restrained on the ground. Protesters took over this week's Columbus City Council meeting because of the September 1st beating and arrest of 31-year-old Timothy Davis. One of the officers, Joseph Bogard, has been placed on desk duty while an investigation continues. Davis has filed a civil rights lawsuit against police and the city. It claims police officials fail to properly train, supervise, monitor, counsel or discipline officers who use excessive force against civilians, in particular blacks. Asked if there's a racism problem within the police division, Ginther responded this way.
Ginther says that's one reason way he made police body cameras a priority because they improve safety on both sides of the device. Ginther says the city has purchased 300 body cameras, with the goal of having 13-hundred by the end of next year. Ginther says another way to improve strained relations is for officers to have personal relationships in the neighborhoods they serve.