Police in Columbus, Ohio, fatally shot an unarmed Black man early Tuesday but did not have their body cameras turned on during the incident, leading the mayor to call for the removal of the officer who opened fire.
Mayor Andrew Ginther said he was greatly disturbed by the fact that the cameras were not recording the incident and called it “unacceptable” on the part of the officers involved.
“So let me be clear, if you’re not going to turn on your body-worn camera, you cannot serve and protect the people of Columbus,” Ginther said. “I have asked Chief Quinlan to remove the officer involved of duty and turn in his badge and gun.”
The shooting happened in the 1000 block of Oberlin Drive and occurred more than two weeks after law enforcement fatally shot 23-year-old Black man Casey Goodson as he entered his grandmother’s home. The investigation into his death, which drew national headlines, is ongoing.
Two officers in separate cars responded to a disturbance call about a running vehicle on Tuesday at around 1:30 a.m., where they found the 47-year-old man in the garage.
Based on body camera footage, the victim walked toward an officer with a cell phone in his left hand, however his other hand couldn’t be seen, police said.
One of the officers fired his weapon, striking the man, who died at Riverside Hospital about an hour later, police said.
The victim and the officers involved have yet to be named.
Neither responding officer activated their body-worn cameras until immediately after the shooting, but because of a 60-second “look back” function, the shooting was captured on video, police said.
However, the function does not record audio.
The preliminary investigation indicates the victim was visiting someone at the home. A weapon was not recovered at the scene. The body-worn camera footage also documents a delay in rendering first-aid, police said.
Because this was a non-emergency call, run lights and sirens were not engaged as officers arrived. As a result, the dash camera in the police cruiser was also not activated for any part of this run, police said.
“The Division invested millions of dollars in these cameras for the express purpose of creating a video and audio record of these kinds of encounters. They provide transparency and accountability, and protect the public, as well as officers, when the facts are in question,” Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan said in a statement.
The officer involved in the shooting will not return to work until he has been cleared by an independent psychologist. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation will handle the case.
“This is a tragedy on many levels,” the police chief said. “Most importantly a life has been lost. That must be our focus going forward.”
He added, “We promise that we will provide as much transparency as possible on our part, both with the investigators and the public. Our community deserves the facts. If evidence determines that laws or policies were violated, officers will be held accountable.”
Doha Madani contributed.