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Police Accountability Project Says Federal Review of CPD Does Not Go Far Enough

Taijuan Moorman Taijuan Moorman Police Accountability Project Says Federal Review of CPD Does Not Go Far EnoughSean Walton of the Columbus Police Accountability Project. Photo by Taijuan Moorman.
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The Columbus Police Accountability Project has responded to the announcement that the United States Department of Justice would be reviewing the Columbus Division of Police, saying the review does not meet the community’s call for a federal investigation.

Earlier this year, community organizations, including the ACLU Ohio, the Columbus NAACP and the Columbus Urban League, called for a federal investigation into decades of misconduct and constitutional violations by the Columbus Division of Police.

At the same time, officials said, the City of Columbus requested the DOJ either investigate or review the division. The review announced by the city does not include a formal investigation of the Columbus Police Department, and will not include enforcement of reforms through a consent decree. The department has never been under a consent decree, though not for lack of attempts.

In a statement, the Columbus Police Accountability Project said a review would not “address the wrongs that have been inflicted upon the citizens of Columbus for years and does not lead to accountability for past bad acts, nor does it ensure protection from these bad acts in the future.”

“This action by the City of Columbus is instead a blatant attempt to move past that history without bringing any justice to the people of this city,” the statement continued.

The DOJ’s review could include CPD policies, training, recruitment and technology, in which the department would provide guidance to Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant and the division, said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein.

But a formal investigation by the DOJ’s civil rights division into the Columbus police department’s patterns and practices is needed, said the Police Accountability Project, not a review of policies.

“This announcement is not a cause for celebration. It is instead an egregious misstep and a missed opportunity,” said Sean Walton, Columbus attorney and the leader of the Columbus Police Accountability Project. “This police department needs radical change and that can come about by investigating the history of abuses in this department and by working to bring so many citizens of this city the healing they deserve.”

For more information on the Columbus Police Accountability Project, visit c-pap.info.

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