Mayor to Issue Executive Order, Council to Pass Law Mandating Independent Investigations of Police-Involved Deaths
Mayor Andrew J. Ginther announced he will issue an Executive
Order to require all fatal use of force cases or cases of death in police
custody in Columbus to the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal
Investigation (BCI). The decision follows constructive conversations between
Mayor Ginther and Attorney General David Yost who has agreed to accept cases
referred to BCI.
“Third-party, independent investigations into police use of
force are critical to building trust in law enforcement, and having BCI conduct
investigations will be critical to restoring confidence in the Columbus
Division of Police,” said Mayor Ginther. “This is an important step toward
implementing the Community Safety Advisory Commission recommendations, and will
ensure that incidents involving the loss of life will be fully investigated by
independent, professionally trained investigators.”
BCI is the state’s official crime lab with offices
throughout the state and provides expert criminal investigative services to
local, state and federal law enforcement agencies upon request.
Mayor Ginther will issue an Executive Order outlining the
justification for referring these types of cases for independent investigation.
The order will have the effect of law, but Mayor Ginther has asked Columbus City
Council to partner with his administration to pass legislation codifying the
executive order, making it law in the City of Columbus, as quickly as possible.
“Mayor Ginther is right to request a third party
investigation into every case where police use lethal force,” said Council
President Hardin. “The full implementation of Columbus Safety Advisory
Commission’s recommendations is not going to be easy, but this is an important
step toward long-term reforms and rebuilding trust with residents.”
Mayor Ginther expects to sign the executive order this week
and has instructed the Director of the Department of Public Safety to enter
into a memorandum of understanding with the Attorney General’s Office and to
develop the protocol to assure all fatal use of force by the Columbus Division
of Police in the future are subject to an independent investigation by BCI.
“As Chair of the Public Safety Committee, I believe referral
of all fatal use of force cases or cases of death while in police custody, to
the State Attorney General’s office will result in an unquestionable level of
transparency and independent accountability,” said Councilmember Mitchell J.
The Columbus City Council Public Safety Committee expects to
consider legislation to establish referral of use-of-force cases to BCI at its
June 29 meeting of Council.