Columbus, OH

No Change in the Police Department a Year After George Floyd

Liz Fe Lifestyle

It's been more than one year after the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. This killing has brought significant outrage and change across the country. Some change that is duly needed and the police force. This includes a significant change in the Columbus Police Force. Money in the black community saw this was formed from the Columbus Police Department as very performative and not doing what they need to do but what they should do to keep black individuals happy. Again all in the wake of Floyd's death. There was no significant change before this tragic incident happened.

This all leads us to now with black officers inside the Columbus Police Department begging for change. 23-year-old Eric Cornett Always dreamed of being a police officer and serving in his hometown of Columbus. Due to that respect from his community, residents fully trusted Cornett and his partner Shaw, who at the time were some of the only black police officers on the force. Though this all swiftly changed for Cornett when he found out that a Columbus Police Sergeant was threatening him and other black officers.

After this incident, the Columbus Police asked if he wanted protection for himself and his family. Cornett probably stated yes but he also said that all the department did was put an empty Cruiser outside his house. Along with this, the division did open up an investigation internally but once Cornett had his first interview he knew that the investigation wasn't going anywhere. Later Cornett took some drastic measures, quit his job, sold his house, and left the state with his family all within two weeks after the incident. The officer in question who spoke derogatorily towards Cornett and Shaw was fired in 2016 for an unrelated offense but later was reinstated and still remains a sergeant with the department today.

Certainly, there have been protests over racism end police brutality that have sparked so much conversation about how the Columbus Police Department interacts with members of their community and members of their Force. But with the recent allegations current and former officers say that there should have been reformed a long time ago within the department. Data from the police department has shown that 87% of the Force's White even though 60% of the city is white. While 10% of the department is black compared to 28% of the Columbus population. Even worse are those percentages held very steady for more than a decade despite the police department saying that they've been trying to have a diverse recruiting class. This makes you think about their definition of diverse. Is it just someone with a little bit of tanner skin or is it someone who actually is from the black community? The department recently announced that about half of their new recruits at the Academy are people of color but from these percentages, we can't see how. Some officers believe that the department claims that black recruits are less qualified than white recruits and use this as an excuse to not hire them. Since 2010 according to the Department's records, the Columbus Police Force has only hired at most 7 black officers per police class.

There are so many white officers inside the force white officers dominate higher ranking positions. Meaning that there is more of them to look at than black officers. There are no black Deputy Chiefs and only one black Commander in the Columbus Police Department. Only 7% of lieutenants and 8% of sergeants are black.

As of right now, many black officers think the best thing to do for the Columbus Police Department is to bring in an outsider to help lead the police department in the change. They think that they missed a vital opportunity last year when Quinlan, then interim chief, was promoted over Perry Tarrant. Tarrant had a strenuous background in black law and would have made a huge difference to the black community.

Other black officers in the department also say that the Discrimination extends beyond their officer duties. Some officers who even sought out positions to help with Staffing events or concerts are overlooked in favor of white officers. A Columbus Police Department document shows only Black officers were approved to work the Nationwide Arena compared to the 26 white officers that applied.

There is a real problem going on in the Columbus Police Department as it probably is in many other police departments. It's just who is talking about the issue. Black officers in Columbus are tired of being in the Wayside so they are speaking up for their own safety and for the safety of their community.

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Columbus, OH
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