Clip and save in the event of another Columbus police shooting

Andy Downing

Throughout the day on Tuesday, new details continued to emerge about Columbus police shooting and killing a 47-year-old Black man on the city’s Northwest Side, each detail apparently more damning than the last. 

Police were dispatched shortly after 1:30 a.m. Tuesday following a non-emergency disturbance call about a man parked in an SUV over a period of time. The officer involved in the shooting, Adam Coywho has a history of complaints, did not turn on his body camera (a 60-second “look back” function captured video of the shooting but not the audio). The footage also indicated that police delayed in rendering medical aid to the shooting victim. Police later said that no weapon was recovered from the scene, and that the victim had been unarmed. The officer has since been relieved of duty and his gun and badge taken, though he will continue being paid while an investigation takes place, per the police union contract.

This most recent shooting occurred less than three weeks after Casey Goodson, 23, was shot and killed outside of his home by Franklin County Sheriff’s SWAT deputy Jason Meade, and continues a pattern all too familiar for many in the city.

In the event that another Black citizen is killed by police while we’re on holiday over the coming weeks, here’s a story template you can clip and save:

Columbus police shot and killed a Black man on (enter the day of the week).

According to police, the officer, who has not been named, arrived on the scene around (enter time), at which point their weapon discharged a projectile, or “bullet,” traveling some distance before embedding itself in the target, because the more clinical and detached the language around a police shooting, the easier it becomes for the public to overlook the act of violence that has been perpetrated.

Police described the victim’s behavior leading to the shooting as suspicious in the hopes that local media would carry the department’s water, making someone sound like a suspect even if their actions fall within the bounds of the law. According to authorities, the person in question was (insert common, everyday activity) when confronted by the officer.

Police also said that a weapon (was/was not) recovered from the scene, which is only a pertinent discussion topic when a Black citizen is killed, since Ohio is an open carry state where Second Amendment protections are weakened by increased levels of melanin in one’s skin, as is the case nationwide.

A spokesperson for the police said the shooting was completely and inarguably justified, and then followed by saying that the public could count on the department to conduct a full, transparent investigation.

The officer involved (did/did not) engage their body camera, and there (is/is not) full audio and video footage of the events leading up to the shooting. 

(If in the previous paragraph you selected “did” and “is,” please go back and select “did not” and “is not.”)

In a statement, Mayor Andrew Ginther said the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation would lead investigation of the case, as is now city policy for shootings involving Columbus police officers, and that the officer involved would temporarily be relieved of duty while receiving pay, per the union contract, before resuming a regular post in future years once the case is no longer in the public spotlight. 

The mayor also said that police violence against the Black community needed to end, while simultaneously refraining from pushing concrete policy changes, continuing a long-running dance of not wanting to anger the police union while paying lip service to the city’s supposed liberal values.

City Council also released a statement condemning the shooting while similarly avoiding the passage of any legislation that could preclude similar statements from being issued in the future.

The victim’s humanity will be bulldozed by police, city officials and even some members of the media, particularly in the early days following the shooting, when police and politicians will work to contain and shape the narrative. In future months, a fuller, more sympathetic picture of the victim could emerge, though this portrait will never receive the attention of the initial one painted by the state.

This most recent shooting occurred just (enter how many days have passed) after police shot and killed (enter victim’s name). That investigation remains ongoing.

Dispatch file photo