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Community Members Break Silence Around Video of Columbus Police Punching and Kicking a Black Civilian

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Community Members Break Silence Around Video of Columbus Police Punching and Kicking a Black CivilianPeople's Justice Project organizer Tammy Fournier Alsaada addresses council, Public Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr., and Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs after a video was released showing several officers punching and kicking a black civilian, Timothy Davis.
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Since last weekend, a disturbing video has circulated more than 100,000 times, showing at least six Columbus police officers, some in plain clothes, punching and kicking a black civilian (later identified as Timothy Davis) at a local convenience store. It’s been shared several thousand times, once on the Columbus Division of Police Facebook page. Still, no press conference has been called or information released regarding the violent video, leading several dozen community members to attend City Council’s Monday night meeting to speak against police brutality and demand answers.

Following the regular meeting, when the floor was open to the public, community member Stacey Little first took the mic in solidarity “with the loved ones of the Columbus Six”: Henry Green, Kawme Patrick, Tyre King, Jaron Thomas, Timothy Davis, Kareem Ali Nadir Jones and Daunt Bell, “who were tragically impacted by violence at the hands of the Columbus Police Department in the past 15 months.”

After Little, more community members each laid out their grievances and demands of city leaders, which included ending the Community Safety Initiative and reallocating the program’s funding toward “community-based violence intervention strategies, drug treatment and employment opportunities.”

They also called for changes to police protocol after any inappropriate use of force actions, unauthorized conduct of enforcement actions in plainclothes, and after discharging their firearm, which included a mandatory drug test for all involved officers and an immediate statement from CPD regarding any incident.

They asked that all police officers receive crisis intervention training, which covers mental health, racial bias and de-escalation, and that the City of Columbus, CPD, and the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9 enter into a “Community Collaborative Agreement, similar to the one in our sister city of Cincinnati.”

Along with listing their various demands, many speakers at the meeting Monday night just wanted to know why nothing had been said by city administration regarding the video in the week following its release.

The four-minute video shows Davis with his pants around his ankles, being pushed to the ground and subsequently kicked and punched by several officers. Police are heard saying “Stop resisting” and “Tase the motherfucker,” while Davis is heard asking “What did I do?”

“Our chief [Kim Jacobs] did not do a press conference. She needs to do a press conference and tell us, our community, that she is doing an investigation, that she’s sympathetic about it,” said Kenny Brown, a community organizer. “Talk about it. Tell us about how you feel. Come on, from the heart.”

“It seems that nobody is — no one cares. No one cares,” another speaker said. “We had to come here just for you guys to listen… Nobody said anything. It was quiet.”

Tammy Fournier Alsaada, an organizer with the People’s Justice Project, demanded an update of information regarding the video within a week.

After the community members cleared, Public Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr. and Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs, whose termination was also called for, were given the opportunity to respond.

Police Chief Kim Jacobs.

“We don’t have everything available to us at the moment,” Jacobs said. “Seven days is a stretch to get an investigation done. We generally have a number of weeks before that, and then there’s the review process.”

City Council President Zach Klein asked that Jacobs return in a week with as much information as possible, but Jacobs replied she would be out of town. Klein then asked that she find someone to fill in for her.

“I want law and order and safety and beautiful neighborhoods just like everybody else here,” said Alsaada after the meeting, “but I will not let them come into my neighborhood and terrorize it, and you shouldn’t accept it. It ain’t just about a black thing — they’re coming for you next.”

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