A 47-year-old Black man was reportedly shot and killed by an Ohio police officer after being called to the scene over a noise complaint early Tuesday (December 22).
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference he instructed the city’s police chief to suspend and take the badge and gun of the officer who fatally shot the currently unidentified man.
"The community is exhausted," Ginther said, noticeably angry.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation is leading the inquiry into what happened, as it is city policy for all shootings involving Columbus police officers.
Sgt. James Fuqua said the shooting occured after officers were dispatched at just past 1:30 am on Tuesday. A non-emergency called summoned police to the 1000 block of Oberlin Drive on Columbus’ Northwest Side over a disturbance involving a vehicle running on and off for an extended time. The noise complaint came from a neighbor, Fuqua says.
According to Ginther and city Department of Public Safety officials, police were initially called by a neighbor who said they saw a person sitting inside a SUV that was turned on and off multiple times over a period of time. When officers arrived on scene, they found a home's garage door open and a man inside.
An internal review of one of the responding officer’s body-worn cameras reveals the man, who was visiting someone at their home, proceeded to walk toward the officers with a cellphone in his left hand. His right hand was not visible.
One officer fired his weapon, striking the 47-year-old Black man, who died at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital roughly 45 minutes later.
A weapon was not recovered at the scene. The man’s name has yet to be released, pending notification of his family.
"The body-worn camera footage also documents a delay in rendering of first-aid to the man," a city Department of Public Safety release reads.
The officer’s name also has yet to be released. Under the Division of Police policy, officers involved in shootings are not identified for at least 24 hours after an incident.
According to WBNS 10TV, the officer has been relieved of duty.
“We are still raw from the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and less than 3 weeks ago, Casey Goodson Jr. Early this morning we learned of the killing of another African American at the hands of law enforcement,” Ginther said.
Ginther said the city invested more than $5 million in cameras for officers and have been proven to be a valuable tool to citizens and officers in situations like this, adding it was unacceptable they were not turned on.
This year, according to the mayor, Columbus has invested more than $5 million in cameras for officers to wear.
"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,” he said.
He added: "I am deeply saddened, frustrated, angry, demanding answers of what happened in our community earlier this morning. And I am committed to transparency and accountability in our division of police.”
In a statement, Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan 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.”