Columbus City Council: demilitarize the police
Columbus City Council will vote tonight to restrict the use of "military-style equipment and tactics" by the Division of Police.
Why it matters: City leaders want to demilitarize the police department as part of ongoing efforts to rebuild trust in local law enforcement.
Details: The ordinance, which is expected to be approved, would prohibit police from using nonlethal force like tear gas and rubber bullets on nonviolent protesters.
- It also would restrict the use of explosives, pyrotechnics and armored vehicles, except for tactical use like from SWAT teams.
What it says: The ordinance states "militarization of police conflicts with the mission to protect and serve, undermines public trust, and creates barriers to the resident-officer connections that are necessary for law enforcement to support public safety."
Flashback: Police used pepper spray and fireworks in 2020 to enforce curfews during widespread protests across the country following the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota.
- Columbus City Council acted that summer to prohibit the department from using certain equipment, such as tracked armored vehicles, high-caliber weaponry, riot batons and camouflage uniforms.
- Investigations into the department's protest conduct, charges against three officers and an overwhelming public vote establishing a police oversight board all followed the protests.
Separately, City Council will vote tonight on an ordinance requiring officers to wear badge numbers and name tags while on duty.
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