What You Missed in Columbus for Dec. 28

Andy Downing
adowning@columbusalive.com
Doctah X

Over the weekend, friends and fans floodedthe Facebook page of musician Tony “Doctah X” Harrington with remembrances after Harrington died suddenly on Christmas Eve.

This man touched a lot of people's lives, including me,” wrote artist Frank Lawson. “He always put me on to some music I wasn't hip to yet. A real one of a kind. He showed me you can be who you want to be and create whatever you dream of no matter the time or place you are. That's a powerful lesson. I can hear his gentle voice in my head now.”

Early in his career,Harrington’s blues guitar playing landed him work with the likes of Ginger Baker, Albert Collins, John Lee Hooker and more. But long enraptured by dub and reggae, he eventually gravitated toward that world, touring with the group Rasbongi upon returning to the United States in the early 1990s following a decade spent in Italy. In the years that followed, Harrington conjured myriad dub records under the name Doctah X, establishing himself as a force within the genre and as an icon within the city, where his presence touched musicians and artists across the spectrum.

Columbus is a smaller, quieter place today,” Scott Woods wrote.

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Ahead of a Saturday candlelight vigil for Andre Hill, who was shot and killed by Columbus police officer Adam Coy following a Dec. 22 non-emergency call, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Hill family,held a press conference at which he relayed new details in the case. In addition to sharing that Hill was wearing a Black lives matter shirt beneath his jacket when he was shot, Crump presented new details from the extended body camera footage made available to the family, alleging that CPD officers made an effort to coordinate their stories in order to protect one another.

“After the officer went back to his vehicle, he said to the other officer, ‘I need to figure out what … I’m going to say,’” said Hill’s brother, Alvin Williamson, of the footage.

“And what did his partner say?” Crump asked.

“'I got you,'” Williamson answered. “His partner replied, ‘I got you.’”

On Christmas Eve, Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan also released a statement announcing action toterminate officer Coy. "I have filed two departmental charges alleging critical misconduct against officer Coy. After an expedited investigation, I have sustained those charges,” Quinlan wrote. “Based on these findings, I am recommending discipline of termination.”

Quinlan’s recommendations were presented to Director of Public Safety Ned Pettus, who is conducting a hearing this morning at which a determination on Coy’s employment status will be made. 

Previously,Mayor Andrew Ginther also called for Coy’s firing.

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In response to both the Hill shooting and the earlier death of Casey Goodson, who was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy on Dec. 4,the Queer Partnership for Black Liberation released an open letter to Mayor Ginther calling for more drastic and immediate police reform, including the immediate terminations of Chief Quinlan and Safety Director Pettus.

The mediocre, partially enforced standards to which our law enforcement officers are held are not acceptable and in no way honor the dignity and humanity of our community,” the group wrote in the letter, which you canread in full here.

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In national news, authorities saidsuicide bomber Anthony Q. Warner, 63, who exploded an RV in downtown Nashville early on Christmas morning, killing himself and injuring three, likely acted alone. No possible motives have been announced. 

Dozens of buildings were damaged in the blast, which came from an RV parked outside of an AT&T building. The explosion occurred after police responded to a report of shots fired in the area, after which a recording started to play from the RV, with a female voice warning that the vehicle was going to explode. Following the warning and just prior to detonation, a recording of the Petula Clark song “Downtown” played.

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The bizarre circumstances surrounding the suicide bombing so dominated the weekend national news cycle that a mass shooting at an Illinois bowling alley depressingly became something of an afterthought. On Saturday night, Duke Webb, an Army sergeant from Florida, entered Don Carter Lanes in Rockford, Illinois, and started firing at random, killing three and injuring three more. Webb was apprehended at the scene.

“We believe this is a completely random act,”Rockford Police Chief Dan O'Shea said at a Sunday news conference. “There is no prior meeting or any kind of relationship between the suspects and any of the victims.”

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Finally, WOSU reporter Paige Pfleger, whose coverage of the ongoing Black lives matter protests, among countless other issues, have been essential to the city,announced on Twitter this morning that she would be leaving the public station, writing, "Columbus, it has been such an honor to earn your trust and tell your stories over the last few years. … Thank you for letting me in."

Alive wishes Pfleger well on whatever comes next.