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File #: 1440-2022    Version: 1
Type: Ordinance Status: Passed
File created: 5/11/2022 In control: Rules & Reference Committee
On agenda: 6/6/2022 Final action: 6/9/2022
Title: To establish Chapter 1913, Restrictions on the Deployment and Use of Equipment and Use of Force by Police in Columbus City Codes; to codify the permanent injunction issued prohibiting the use of control agents on nonviolent protestors and to curtail the use of force on nonviolent protestors; to require the report of all uses of force from the previous year to City Council; and to declare an emergency.
Sponsors: Elizabeth Brown
This ordinance establishes new Columbus City Codes Chapter 1913 - Restrictions on the Deployment and Use of Equipment and Use of Force by Police.

Historically, federal programs such as the 1033 Program have supported the transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies. Such partnerships have undergirded a shift among police forces toward using more military-style equipment and approaches over time. However, this militarization is inconsistent with local law enforcement’s mission to protect and serve because militarization undermines public trust and creates barriers to the resident-officer connections that are necessary for law enforcement to uphold the public’s safety.

Demilitarization is a tool for fostering trust and is complementary to other strategies, such as the civilian police review board and the use of body-worn cameras, which the City of Columbus has implemented. This ordinance builds upon 1500-2020, the first piece of demilitarization legislation adopted in the summer of 2020, which banned outright certain equipment that has no suitable use by Columbus police officers, mostly notably riot batons and camouflage uniforms. In contrast, this ordinance focuses on limiting, rather than banning, the use of certain equipment not addressed under the previous legislation.

The formulation of this ordinance was guided by significant resident feedback about the impact of the use of certain equipment, as well as recommendations from an Obama Administration working group made up of community groups, law enforcement, and legal and civil rights experts. Further, it codifies the permanent injunction from Judge Algenon Marbley relating to the summer 2020 protests, the contents of which are closely linked to the overall intent of this ordinance. Resident feedback has underscored the fact that the public’s trust in law enforcement is closely linked to the tactics and equipment they use, both in First Amendment demonstrations and in neighbor...

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