Dec 22, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Columbus, Ohio, police officer fatally shoots unarmed Black man

People hold up signs during a march for Casey Goodson Jr. in Columbus, Ohio on December 11, 2020. - Casey Goodson Jr., a 23-year-old Black man, was shot and killed by law enforcement on December 4

People hold up signs in Columbus, Ohio, during a Dec. 11 march for Casey Goodson Jr., a 23-year-old Black man, who was shot and killed by law enforcement. Photo: Stephen Zenner/AFP via Getty Images

A Columbus, Ohio, police officer was relieved of duty following the fatal shooting of a 47-year-old Black man Tuesday during which he did not activate his body camera, Mayor Andrew Ginther (D) announced.

Why it matters: The shooting of the unnamed man comes after the Dec. 4 death of Casey Goodson, Jr., a 23-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy, which triggered protests against police brutality.

"Our community is still raw and exhausted from the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and, most recently, Casey Goodson, Jr., right here in Columbus."
— Ginther statement

Details: Ginther said during a briefing the police body cameras contain a 60-second "look-back" feature, which means the shooting was captured before the officer turned on his camera following the incident. But this does not record audio.

  • "The officer involved has been relieved of duty, requiring him to turn in his badge and gun and stripping him of police powers pending the outcome of the criminal and subsequent internal investigations," Ginther said in a social media post.
  • The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the matter.
  • Neither the police officer nor the man who died have been publicly identified.

What they're saying: Police said in a statement officers were called out to a non-emergency disturbance 1:37 a.m. Tuesday about a man in an SUV that had been turned on and off multiple times. 

  • The officer opened fire when the man approached them with a phone in his left hand and his right hand in his pocket, per the statement. "A weapon was not recovered from the scene," the statement said.
  • Columbus City Council said in a statement Tuesday, "The compounding heartbreak of learning an unarmed Black man was killed last night by a Columbus police officer is beyond description.
"Thoughts and prayers cannot soothe this pain, and the members of Columbus City Council are beyond frustrated at this senseless death. Too many families in our community are mourning at a time when we should be seeking peace and hope."

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