The Columbus clergy want former police chief Thomas Quinlan to be completely fired from the department, however Mayor Andrew Ginther does not move.
A small but outspoken group of religious leaders provided one petition on Monday morning to Ginthers office in the town hall with more than 300 signatures.
The petition calls Quinlan should not only be downgraded from boss to deputy boss like on Thursday, but also be removed from the entire department.
More details on the belief leaders’ view:More than 250 religious leaders want Quinlan to be completely removed from the Columbus Police Division
“For him, resigning as deputy chief is a tremendous insult to our integrity,” said Bishop Donald Washington, senior pastor at Mount Hermon Missionary Baptist Church on the northeast side during a press conference before the faith leaders petitioned. “He has to go. He has to go now because a leopard never changes places.”
The faith leaders passed their petition to a security guard at the front desk as they were not allowed to go to the mayor’s office due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In front of the town hall of the Rev. Dan Clark, manager of Believe in Ohio Public LifeRead the letter attached to the petition saying Quinlan was responsible for “maintaining a culture of racism and violence against blacks within the petition” Columbus Department of Police and in the community. “
In response to the clergy’s demands, Robin Davis, Ginher’s spokeswoman, emailed a statement from the mayor.
“I appreciate all points of view and there are many in relation to the incredibly difficult challenges we face as a community,” said Ginther in the prepared statement. “I have consulted with residents, activists, faith and community leaders whom I trust, and I stand by my decision. More importantly, I focus on choosing a new police chief who will make reform and change that we all agree. “”
Many clergymen were frustrated on Monday when they said they had been telling Ginther the same thing for months or even years.
“I come to this topic with a tremendous amount of emotion and passion because I’ve been engaged for two years,” said Rev. Jefferey P. Kee, co-leader of the Area Religious Coalition and senior pastor at New Faith Baptist Church of Christ on the Near East Side.
Kee was on the selection committee when Quinlan was selected to be chief, but it was voiced that the mayor made the wrong choice when he failed to select the former Seattle deputy chief of police Perry Tarrant, Who is Black and who was the other finalist for the Columbus Police Chief when Quinlan was hired?
“I knew then as now that Thomas Quinlan should never be boss,” said Kee.
Faith leaders also urged Ginther to brief Tarrant of the main position. Tarrant has told reporters he is ready to come to Columbus and serve as chief.
Davis said the mayor’s office is conducting a national search for the next police chief and Tarrant can apply if he’s still interested.
Clergymen say little has been changed:Clergymen say they are not satisfied with the progress the police have made on racism
Since October 2018, Kee has been part of a group of clergy representing the concerns of black police officers who believe there is a culture of racism and discrimination within the police department, but who are too fearful of retaliation to speak up .
Since Quinlan was named chief in February 2020, black officers have asked to speak to him. He never saw them, said Kee.
“This is a great atrocity,” he said. “We need him out and now to get him back into a position (deputy boss) he decided he didn’t want anymore … there is no position for him to return to. They are all occupied. “
Her complaints against Quinlan, according to the petition, include that he has begun investigating the shooting of Casey Goodson Jr. on December 4th by a Deputy Sheriff of Franklin County without the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigationalthough clergymen say the department cannot be trusted to investigate the police shootings; Columbus policeman not arrested Adam Coy for the shooting and killing and unarmed black man, Andre Hill, December 22nd; and it perpetuates the internal culture of racism within the police division.
Shooting badly handled, clergymen say:“This has to stop”: Faith leaders upset with Casey Goodson shooting and handling of hot potatoes
“Thomas Quinlan has shown time and again that he does not have the ability to be an officer in our city,” said Kee. There is “no degree of compassion or empathy for black men who die from the acts of law enforcement”.
The Rev. Susan K. Smith, founder of Crazy Faith Ministries, said people cannot rest.
“There is no justice for black people from the police,” she said. “We are afraid of our lives in front of the police, those who are supposed to protect us often harass us … Boss Quinlan did nothing to protect us.”
Smith and others, speaking on Monday, also referred to the way police treated protesters over the summer. Three officers elected by Black were sprayed with pepper spray by police while peacefully protesting the police killing of George Floyd and other police brutality. US Representative Joyce Beatty, Franklin County Commissioner Kevin Boyce and President of the Columbus City Council Shannon Hardin officers were sprayed with pepper spray.
“The way protesters were treated this summer was abhorrent,” said Smith. “We think Quinlan has to be as far away from us as possible.”
Jewish, Muslim and Christian clergy signed the petition.
“Chef Thomas Quinlan failed the people in Columbus in several ways,” the petition says.