Columbus officer seen on video punching man in face cleared in internal investigation

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Columbus police officer who was seen on video punching a man in the face over the summer has been cleared in an internal investigation after he was accused of using force in response to the man's actions and that he endangered the man's children.

On June 7, police officers responded to a report of shots fired on Heyl Avenue just after 4 p.m. after ShotSpotter alerted them.

According to witnesses, officers ordered the adults out of the home with suspicion an armed individual was in the home.

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Jonathan Robinson says he was crossing the street to protect his wife, who was holding their two children, when he ignored officers' commands and was shoved, then punched by officer Anthony Johnson.

On July 10, police records say Robinson filed an Internal Affairs complaint that alleged Johnson didn't use force in the right order when he punched him in the face.

Robinson's wife also accused Johnson and another officer of endangering their children when they used their mace.

An investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau recommended that Johnson be exonerated of the allegation that he used force in response to Robinson's actions. The allegation that Johnson endangered Robinson's children when he deployed his mace was unfounded, according to police records.

Robinson was initially charged from the incident with obstruction of official business and disorderly conduct. Those charges were dropped, according to Franklin County Municipal Court records.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther's office released this statement on the investigation:

“Mayor Ginther was encouraged by the mediation efforts of Public Safety to bring much-needed conversation between Officer Johnson and the resident involved in the days following the incident in July. We accept that the Internal Affairs Bureau investigation is complete. A departmental use of force investigation is still ongoing. Because litigation has been filed, we have to defer further comment.”

Robinson's attorney said a letter was sent to the city of Columbus on behalf of Robinson and his brothers as a claim for $350,000 in damages related to the incident.

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