Ohio police officer kills black man with body camera off, mayor says

The officer has been suspended pending an investigation, Ginther said at a news conference.

The mayor said he was “very” concerned that the officer turned on the body camera only after the shooting.

“A feature of the technology (body cameras) provides a 60-second retrospective,” Ginther said, but he doesn’t record audio.

So, investigators have video of the shooting, but no audio recording of what was said, the mayor said.

Police responded to a non-emergency call shortly after 1:37 a.m. on Tuesday, according to a press release from the Columbus Department of Public Safety. The caller reported that a man had been in his SUV for a long time and turned his engine on and off repeatedly.

When police arrived at the house on the northwest side of town, they found a garage door open and a man inside, city officials said. The 60-second look back to the body shows the man walking to the officer with a cell phone in his left hand, the release said. His right hand was not visible.

An officer fired his weapon, officials said, as they beat a 47-year-old man who died in hospital just before 2:30 a.m.

The preliminary investigation shows that the man was visiting someone’s home, officials said. A weapon has not been found on the spot.

The officers turned on their cameras immediately after the shooting, and those footage shows a delay in providing assistance to the man.

Because the agents did not respond to an emergency, they did not turn on their car’s siren and lights, officials said, so their cruiser’s dashboard camera was not activated at any point during the response.

Mayor Ginther said the city is giving the deceased’s family a chance to see the camera video of the body before it is released to the media. He expects the family to view the images on Wednesday.

The shooting comes on the heels of the fatal December 4 shooting in Columbus of Casey Goodson, a 23-year-old black man with no criminal background, by a Deputy Sheriff from Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Three discrimination cases have also been filed in Columbus in recent months by current or former black officers. City council last month voted for a payment of $ 475,000 in a quarter from an officer who said he faced retaliation after reporting racial and misconduct by a white police sergeant.

“The town is exhausted,” said Ginther.

Columbus has invested more than $ 5 million to equip his agents with body cameras, according to the mayor.

A visibly frustrated Ginther said he won’t tolerate agents who don’t turn their cameras on.

“If you don’t turn on your body-worn camera, you can’t serve and protect the people of Columbus,” Ginther said.

The investigation is being handled by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Columbus Police Department is fully cooperating, the mayor said.

Under an agreement reached this summer, the BCI will conduct an outside, independent investigation into all shootings involving deadly violence by Columbus police officers.

“This is a tragedy on many levels,” Police Chief Thomas Quinlan said in a statement. “The important thing is that a life has been lost. That should be our focus in the future. We know that BCI will conduct a thorough, independent investigation. We promise to provide as much transparency as possible on our part, both with researchers and with the public.

“Our community deserves the facts. If evidence shows that laws or policies have been violated, officials will be held accountable.”