More Than 100 Protesters Fill Columbus City Council, Demanding Police Reform

Sep 19, 2017

Protesters upset over a violent arrest delayed a Columbus City Council meeting for nearly two hours as they demanded answers and sweeping reforms of the Columbus Police department.

The Columbus Dispatch reports more than 100 people filled City Council chambers Monday night.

At issue is the Sept. 1 arrest of Timothy Davis inside a Columbus convenience store. Cell phone video of the arrest shows officers repeatedly punching and kicking Davis, who was wanted on a warrant from a year earlier alleging he assaulted an officer.

Davis is now suing the police department and the city for the use of excessive force, as well as patterns of racial bias.

At the meeting, protesters demanded the firing of officers involved in the arrest along with Chief Kim Jacobs, the ending of the Community Policing Initiative and the mandatory training of officers in implicit bias and de-escalation.

“I'm not real concerned about what Chief Jacobs and her department will say, because they have a pattern of continuously covering up the abuse of their officers," said lead organizer Tammy Fournier Alsaada before the protest. "But I am very concerned to hear what our city leadership will say.”

Council president Zachary Klein, a Democrat, told the Dispatch he has confidence in Jacobs and the police but there is always room for growth. Police, however, do not feel the same: In August the Columbus branch of the Fraternal Order of Police unanimously voted "no confidence" in Klein and other city officials.

Columbus Division of Police Deputy Chief Michael Woods says he was unable to respond to last week's demands at yesterday's meeting because he was interrupted by protestors.