Mayor Ginther Issues Directive Banning Tear Gas as a Crowd Control Measure
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther has issued a directive prohibiting the use of tear gas as a crowd control measure and limiting pepper spray only to situations involving “clear instances” of violence.
Per a statement from the mayor’s office, additional policy changes in how these chemical agents are used will be drafted in agreement with City Attorney Zach Klein to “assure clear, consistent guidance to police.”
“This new policy will stop unnecessary confrontations between police officers and peaceful protestors exercising their First Amendment rights,” said Klein. “This important change reflects our city’s and my own personal commitment to meaningful reforms and balances public safety and protected speech.”
Mayor Ginther, Police Chief Thomas Quinlan, City Attorney Klein and City Council President Shannon Hardin have also announced the Chief’s Advisory Panel. The advisory panel has been created to allow community leaders a way to provide input into strategies, community policing practices development, and increasing community transparency into police operations.
“This is not just a commission or committee that will sit idly by,” said Mayor Ginther, via press release. “The Chief’s panel will weigh in and provide feedback on changes we are making – such as significantly limiting the use of tear gas and pepper spray by the Columbus Division of Police.”
“The panel will act as a sounding board for me regarding community needs, concerns and expectations, as well as provide community feedback to current and proposed police programs and priorities,” said Chief Quinlan.
A panel of 14 members were selected by Mayor Ginther and Columbus City Council:
- Aba Azeem, Vice Chair of the Create Columbus Commission
- Lourdes Barosso de Padilla, Director of the Latina Mentoring Academy
- J. Love Benton, Vice Chair, Black, Out and Proud
- James Burke IV, President Columbus National Pan Hellenic Council
- LaShaun Carter, Chief Diversity Officer at Franklin County Children Services and Columbus Community Safety Advisory Commissioner
- Stefanie Coe, Commissioner, Civil Service Commission
- Yaves Ellis, Pastor and Director of Community Affairs at Urban 1
- Tammy Fournier, Founder and Organizing Director, Peoples Justice Project and Columbus Community Safety Advisory Commissioner
- Florence Latham, Human Resources Consultant and Executive Coach
- Kristy McCray, Associate Professor, Otterbein University
- Diane Menashe, Partner, Ice Miller
- Andrew B. Pierce II, Undergraduate Student, John Glenn College of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University
- Randall Sistrunk, Director of Development, Orange Barrel Media
- Erin Upchurch, Executive Director, Kaleidoscope Youth Center
“Community leaders, like those on this advisory panel, keep public officials accountable,” said Council President Hardin. “That accountability and transparency is critical not just for council, but for all officials who serve the people of our city. This advisory group has an important role to help reform public safety through new institutions and practices such as a civilian review board, independent investigations and much more.”