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MITIGATING MISCONDUCT | COLUMBUS POLICE DEPARTMENT

MITIGATING MISCONDUCT IN THE COLUMBUS POLICE DEPARTMENT

EMIR ADEN DINI

MITIGATING MISCONDUCT | COLUMBUS POLICE DEPARTMENT

Prepared for the Columbus City Council, Franklin County Board of Commissioners, Fraternal
Order of Police, Columbus Police Department & residents of the City of Columbus, Ohio

MITIGATING MISCONDUCT | COLUMBUS POLICE DEPARTMENT

Proposal Contents

History of Police Misconduct
Department Inefficiencies
Public Trust
Transparency of Records
21st Century Policing
Proposal Benefits
Conclusion

MITIGATING MISCONDUCT | COLUMBUS POLICE DEPARTMENT

History of Police Misconduct | The City of Columbus is not immune to police
misconduct and for the majority of the cities metropolitan history, rampant
misconduct by CPD officers was common place. The target of misconduct was often
directed towards minority groups and the severity was so troubling that intervention
by the Justice Department became warranted 1.
Department Inefficiencies | A recurring problem with the Columbus Police
department and chief inefficiency is the disclosure of records and the proper notifying
of parties involved in cases of police incidents. While investigatory needs are cited as
a reason for withholding disclosure, very seldom is this the legitimate reason for such
an action. Rather it is a procedural process with little prosecutorial value that creates
distrust between the public and the C.P.D. The case of the General Dollar Store
robbery 2 on Oct 10 of this year highlights this very common problem with the C.P.D
and provides a notable example. Provided is a brief narrative of what occurred on
October 10:
“Four men aged 17 to 20 were in the process of robbing a General Dollar Store near Alum
Creek Drive when the robbery was disrupted by C.P.D officers who were given foresight
into the robbery as it occurred 3 . The officers intercepted the robbers as they exited the
store and home video 4 shows the suspects cars pinned in and two of the four suspects
being shot within seconds of opening the door to escape.”

Weeks following the incident, the C.P.D failed to adequately give information to the
grieving families 5 and disclose the names of officers involved or its records into the
matter. The case is currently on trial with the surviving robbers being tried for
murder 6 , despite the charge having absolutely no justifiable standing. Additionally,
the juvenile (17) involved in the case has been sought by the prosecuting attorney to
try as an adult 7 . None of the four men have any prior criminal records.
The case illuminates the obscurity to which the C.P.D operates when it deals with the
public and especially in controversial cases in which injury occurs or life is lost. This
behavior is so ingrained into the C.P.D that even grieving families are left without
disclosure as to the manner of death of their loved ones.
Public Trust | The aforementioned case is only one of many numerous cases in which
public trust in the Columbus Police Department has been severely damaged.
Consistent and routine withholding of information leaves the public ill-informed,

MITIGATING MISCONDUCT | COLUMBUS POLICE DEPARTMENT

unable to correct police misconduct nor hold officials accountable. While C.P.D is
likely to argue it does release records; it do so at its choosing and far too often, to its’
advantage 8 .
Transparency of Records | Public access to records is a fundamental cornerstone for
any civic society in which individuals are sanctioned to arrest, imprison or take the
lives of fellow citizens. The Columbus Police Department has been stonewall resistant
in upholding this fundamental premise. The case of the Innocence Project shows this
inadequacy. In 2014, the Innocence Project was forced to sue the C.P.D 9 after it was
unable to review the records of Adam Saleh who was sentenced to 38 years in prison
for the murder of Julie Popovich . Saleh contends he is innocent but the merits of his
innocence are unable to be evaluated since his records are being withheld by the
C.P.D. Rather, the C.P.D offered an incomprehensible choice to the Innocence Project,
Saleh must die first or must be freed before his records would be released. The
Innocence Project was supported in its suit by the Columbus Dispatch, Ohio Attorney
General Mike Dewine and numerous legal associations within Ohio 10 .
Saleh’s predicament is of serious concern for anyone that values a fair justice system
within Columbus. The problem arises not from the dubious nature of weather Saleh is
innocent or guilty, but the system to which Saleh must navigate and to which
innocent individuals may find themselves. In the likely scenario in which an innocent
individual is wrongfully convicted, there would be no mechanisms to seek outside
intervention or to bring the case details to public knowledge for scrutiny.
21st Century Policing | One solution to help address these issues is to update how
policing is done from dispatching officers to locking up criminals. The use of body
cameras along with the technology to disseminate records is not only crucial but the
exemplary precedent and future standard set by other police departments across the
nation. The University of Cambridge recently released its data after monitoring the
implementation of mandated body cameras for the Rialto, CA based police
department. The camera’s were cited in reducing excessive use of force by police
officers by 59% and dropping police complaints by 87% 11 . Additionally, Similar results
were reported by various departments that instituted body cameras for police officers.
Proposal Benefits | Although the preliminary data shows positive outcomes from the
implementation of mandated body cameras, the problem of managing the content

MITIGATING MISCONDUCT | COLUMBUS POLICE DEPARTMENT
remains a difficult challenge for police departments. Procedural processes take days,
require expensive technical personnel and even more expensive hardware for storage.
Often, police departments hire contractors rather than turn to already accessible,
secure, user friendly and free platforms for the dissemination of content. One
overlooked and widely popular platform is Youtube. Youtube holds the world's largest
collection of videos 12 and is among the most user friendly websites on the web.
Converting content to Youtube would save millions, modernize accessibility, promote
transparency and would actually create a positive net return for the Columbus Police
Department.
Furthermore, Youtube is one of the biggest ad agencies in the world and the
conversion of body camera content to its’ platform would create income for the CPD
in ads generated on its’ channel 13 . In time, the channel could come to serve as a PSA
(Public Service Announcement) platform to inform the local community on safety
issues or to solicit help in identifying suspects or calling in tips. The accessibility and
public disclosure of the content would also help researchers to identify patterns,
provide recommendations or to gain valuable insights.
Conclusion | Public opinion and legislative agendas indicate that in the coming years,
a broader and more powerful push will be made to hold police departments more
accountable in meeting the demands of a more digitized generation. Meeting this
demand in Columbus requires not only use of body cameras but also easier access to
records and a more honest approach to responding to public inquiry.

MITIGATING MISCONDUCT | COLUMBUS POLICE DEPARTMENT
References
1.

United States v. City of Columbus, OH (C2-99-1097 ) . U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
http://www.clearinghouse.net/detail.php?id=1034. Dec 22, 2014.

2.

Hartman, Kristyn, and Jerry Revish. "Officers Staked-Out Dollar General Before Robbery That Led To Fatal
Police-Involved Shooting." Officers Staked-Out Dollar General Before Robbery. WBNS-10TV, 13 Oct. 2014.
Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

3.

Hartman, Kristyn, and Jerry Revish. "Columbus Chief Questioned About Police-Involved Shooting Outside
Dollar Store." Columbus Chief Questioned About Police-Involved Shooting. WBNS-10TV, 15 Oct. 2014. Web.
19 Dec. 2014.

4.

Valin, Jeff. "Home Security Camera Video Shows Deadly Police-Involved Shooting." Home Video Captures
Deadly Police Shooting. WBNS-10TV, 11 Oct. 2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

5.

McEntyre, Glenn. "Grieving Family Of Man Killed In Columbus Police-Involved Shooting Wants Answers."
Grieving Family Of Man Killed In Columbus Police-Involved Shooting Wants Answers. WBNS-10TV, 12 Oct.
2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

6.

"Case Information Online." Case Information Online. Franklin County Clerk of Courts, n.d. Web. 19 Dec.
2014. <http://fcdcfcjs.co.franklin.oh.us/CaseInformationOnline/caseSearch?4oq8GrXfL72qT4L3S59a>.
*Query: Aarin Clinkscale (Case No. 14 CR 005579)

7.

Manning, Allison. "Police Credit Prep Work for Busting South Side Robbery." The Columbus Dispatch, 15
Oct. 2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

8.

Wood, Jim. "Two Shot by Columbus Police Officer as His Hand Is Pinned in Door." The Columbus Dispatch,
07 Nov. 2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.
<http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/11/06/officer-involved-shooting-south-side.html>.
*Name of Innocent bystander yet to be released.

9.

Ludlow, Randy. "Ohio Innocence Project Sues Columbus Police for Murder Case Records." The Columbus
Dispatch, 23 Sept. 2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

10. Ludlow, Randy. "Columbus Stands Firm: Murder Case Files Not Public." The Columbus Dispatch, 12 Nov.
2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.
11.

Ariel, B. et al. The Effect of Police Body-Worn Cameras on Use of Force and Citizens’ Complaints Against
the Police: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal Quantitative Criminology (Nov. 19, 2014)

12. "YouTube." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/YouTube>.
13. "How Many Views Does It Take to Make Money on YouTube? | Video Power Marketing." Video Power
Marketing. N.p., 04 Nov. 2013. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.
<http://videopower.org/how-many-views-to-make-money-on-youtube/>.