Columbus has likelihood to heal if classes realized from protests


In the just published Review of the handling of protests in the city center last year There is ample confirmation from the city and the police that a lot has gone wrong.

“The list of things that have gone wrong and could be improved is vast,” concluded the review authors, “especially the lack of coordination and collaboration between elected city officials, the CPD leadership and the CPD grassroots; the inadequacy of existing guidelines and procedures for dealing with increasingly dynamic and conflictual protests and the lack of sufficient preparation and training to be prepared for events of this magnitude and complexity. “

The consequences of these deficiencies include mounting anger in the community and low morale in the police division.

Study:Columbus, police officers should seek reconciliation with color communities

The review was led by former US attorney Carter Stewart and Trevor Brown, Dean of John Glenn College for Public Affairs at Ohio State University. Frank Straub, director of the Center for Studies to Combat Mass Violence at the National Police Foundation in Arlington, Virginia, escorted Stewart to the city council Monday night.

The 111-page review, released on Monday, included a list of recommendations, most notably that the city must improve its internal and external communications and work to close a gap between the police and some sections of the public who are facing just enlarged.

“The handling of the protests seems to have driven a wedge between the community and the police and has deepened the anger of many colored community members over how they are being treated by the city and the police.”

In summary, we can say that there is still a lot to be done.

“The hardest part is tackling this community reconciliation process that few have tried but which is so important,” said Stewart. “It’s a big struggle to get people to the table, let alone have the right conversations.”

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Towards the end of the presentation to the council, Stewart said he was optimistic despite the challenges.

“This is one area where I really believe Columbus can be a national leader,” he said. “When I think of Columbus, I think of innovation.”

Theodore Decker

Then he got personal. Stewart grew up in Atlanta and graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Law School. Before he came to central Ohio, he was a state attorney in California.

“I didn’t want to move here 16 years ago, I kicked and screamed, but now that I’m here I’m so happy,” he said. “If any church, any group of people can work on it and find out, I think the people here are.”

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The task may prove monumental, but don’t confuse it with insurmountable.

Over in Newark, New Jersey, a city about a third of the population of Columbus but which may triple when it comes to historical unrest, something compelling has developed.

Last year, writes Star Ledger columnist Tom MoranThe Newark Police Department did not fire a single shot on duty, and the city did not pay a dime to settle cases of police brutality, which it did not seem to have done in the city’s modern history.

The city hand was forced to make changes after a year-long investigation into police authority’s practices resulted in a court-ordered federal consent decree in 2016.

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But five years later, the mayor, police chief, and community activists seem to agree that the Newark Police Department and the city’s crime problem have changed for the better. During the five years the department was under the decree, serious crimes in the city have decreased by 40%.

But if 2020 was a promising year in Newark, 2021 was an almost instant reminder to the city that profits are not permanently assured. On the first day of the new year, a Newark officer shot a man and sparked another round of protests.

The successes in Newark may provide insight, but Stewart and Straub said it was up to us to find the right path for Columbus.

“Each community is unique in itself,” said Straub. “All of you as a collective body, as a whole community, must have this. Second, there must be an appreciation of the past and the present in order to move forward.”

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@ Theodore_Decker