Linden Neighborhood Conversation

Robin Davis
Director of Media Relations
614.645.2425
rcdavis@columbus.gov

Melanie Crabill
Communications Manager
614.645.5300
mjcrabill@columbus.gov

Media Advisory
News Date: June 11, 2020

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. Brown. 

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.