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Stewart To Head Review Of City's Response To Protests

Jul 22, 2020

Former federal prosecutor Carter Stewart will be the special investigative researcher for the review of how the city and police handled recent protests.

Columbus officials today announced an independent research review of the city's response to recent protests.

Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Carter Stewart will lead the examination and recruit a team of researchers, lawyers, academics, students, and community volunteers to engage in a three-part process.

"First, we're going to gather all the relevant information we can," Stewart continued. "That means interviewing witnesses, both law enforcement and members of the public. It means looking at video evidence. It means looking at incident reports, communications among law enforcement, and the like. Second, we will work with a team of independent experts in policing, community engagement, civil rights, and organizational behavior to analyze that information and evaluate the gaps between what the expected outcomes were and what actually happened. Lastly, we will make research-informed recommendations for how the city can respond better to future such incidents." 

Ohio State University's John Glenn College of Public Affairs will handle the research component.  This will be separate from the individual use-of-force cases being investigated for administrative and potential criminal charges. 

"This is a holistic look at the way the city of Columbus handled the protests," Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said. "It is not a look at each individual incident. It is a look at policies and procedures, about communications, about planning. It's asking those global, holistic questions about how the city of Columbus planned, prepared, executed its response to protests on the timeframe of May 28 to July 18. So I wanted to clear and clarify, they are doing a holistic, macro review of the police response and the city's response.

Officials say most of the money for the $250,000 project will come from the police division's Contraband Seizure Fund. They expect the analysis to be completed by the end of the year.