Columbus mayor to put police civilian review board to voters


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Voters in Ohio’s capital city would decide on the creation of an independent civilian review board to investigate police misconduct, according to a proposal Monday by the Columbus mayor, prosecutor and city council president.

The board would direct, fund and staff an independent Inspector General department that would investigate allegations of misconduct and other police actions.

The board would have subpoena powers and authority to conduct independent investigations and recommend disciplinary action, said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.

Ginther said Columbus, the biggest city in Ohio and among the largest in the U.S., is one of the few big cities without some form of civilian police overnight.

The City Council was expected to approve the measure Wednesday, which would place it on the November ballot.

Ginther has been outspoken on the need for such a review board since the unrest that followed the May killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer, sparking worldwide protests over racism and police brutality.

But the concept has been around for a while under the administration of Ginther, a second-term Democrat. The board was a top recommendation in a report released in January by a Columbus commission that studied improvements to community and police relations following a spate of violence.

The plan is backed by Council President Shannon Hardin and City Attorney Zach Klein.

Many details must be worked out with the union representing Columbus police, which has been skeptical of such boards. The union promised a statement later Monday on the ballot proposal.