According to WTRF, the lawsuit alleges that the demonstrators were falsely arrested and assaulted by Columbus police officers. “It’s the result of a lot of, I think, courageous individuals who were willing to put their names on a lawsuit against the police department that is not an easy thing to do,” said Attorney Frank Gittes.
Several body cameras from the 2020 protests showed peaceful people being shot at with non-lethal bullets, rammed by officers on bikes and gassed. “A number of people had to have surgery — I mean there were very serious injuries some of them will last the rest of their lives,” Gittes added.
City Attorney Zach Klein released a statement following the announcement of the settlement. “While this has certainly been a difficult and painful moment for our community, it has yielded important, and in some instances long overdue, reforms to policing practices, policies, and oversight,” he said.
As REVOLT previously reported, earlier this year, a federal judge ruled that police cannot use force against non-violent protesters. In an 88-page opinion, Judge Algenon Marbley slammed the Columbus police for the way they violently handled people who peacefully protested last year.
Marbley said the police officers were out of control last year and used weapons and tactics such as rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades, body slams and kettling against people.
“Unfortunately, some of the members of the Columbus Police Department had no regard for the rights secured by this bedrock principle of American democracy,” the judge wrote. “This case is the sad tale of police officers, clothed with the awesome power of the state, run amok.”
Officers must now allow members of the media to record the demonstrations and allow medical personnel to assist those who may be injured.