Small steps are being taken, but they are steps nonetheless.
Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, Columbus City Council President Shannon G. Hardin, and City Attorney Zach Klein held a virtual press conference on Tuesday announcing that Columbus is joining the 8 Can’t Wait campaign.
This comes one day after the above-mentioned officials, along with Police Chief Thomas Quinlan, announced a chief’s advisory panel and strict limitations on the use of chemical spray agents. Quinlan was not present at Tuesday’s press conference.
“I think what you’ve seen this week is an acknowledgment from city leaders that folks want (action) now,” Hardin said.
The 8 Can’t Wait campaign gained a lot of endorsements by cities since the May 25 death of Geroge Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis, Minn., police officer Derek Chauvin. The policies, if followed correctly, call upon the police to stop the use of excessive force. Those policies include:
- Banning chokeholds and strangeholds
- Require de-escalation
- Require warning before shooting
- Exhaust all alternatives before shooting
- Duty to intervene
- Ban shooting at moving vehicles
- Require use of force continuum
- Require comprehensive reporting
The policing reform agenda has stated that it has an end goal of abolishing the police. Ginther mentioned in the press conference on Wednesday that he doesn’t support defunding the police.
Ginther believes that following these policies will lead to reduced violent interactions with police, thus saving lives.
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“There is an urgent need to take advantage of this moment,” Ginther said.
Council President Hardin mentioned that implementing these “safe and sensible guidelines” are “small steps to build trust” between police and the community.
Ginther and Hardin acknowledged that policy and press conferences won’t solve problems, but immediate action is necessary.
“When we talk about comprehensive reform…we’re not just focusing in one area,” Hardin said.
When asked about what could be done about reforming police education, Ginther mentioned that Columbus is exceeding in police training but that more has to be done.