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Mayor Ginther to sign order requiring police-involved deaths be independently investigated

The mayor's office said Columbus City Council would pass the law.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said in a news release he is going to sign an executive order to require all police-involved deaths in Columbus be investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

The order would cover all deadly use of force cases by Columbus police and any death in police custody.

The release from the mayor's office said Columbus City Council would pass the law. 

The news comes after recommendations for changes to the Columbus Division of Police were made by the Columbus Community Safety Advisory Commission.

“Third-party, independent investigations into police use of force are critical to building trust in law enforcement, and having BCI conduct investigations will be critical to restoring confidence in the Columbus Division of Police," Ginther said.

The city said Ohio Attorney General David Yost has agreed to accept the cases.

"The order will have the effect of law, but Mayor Ginther has asked Columbus City Council to partner with his administration to pass legislation codifying the executive order, making it law in the City of Columbus, as quickly as possible," the city's release stated.

Council President Shannon Hardin said in the release, "Mayor Ginther is right to request a third party investigation into every case where police use lethal force. The full implementation of Columbus Safety Advisory Commission’s recommendations is not going to be easy, but this is an important step toward long-term reforms and rebuilding trust with residents.”

Ginther is expected to sign the order this week and said he told the Director of the Department of Public Safety to work with BCI to develop a protocol to make sure independent investigations happen.

Columbus Division of Police Chief Thomas Quinlan released a statement in response: “The most important aspect in any criminal investigation is that we get it right. I have confidence in BCI that they will complete a comprehensive and impartial investigation.”

The Columbus City Council Public Safety Committee is expected to talk about legislation about the order at the council meeting on June 29.

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