From: Brittany King
A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by a reporter at The Republic about my experience and overall thoughts on the audit and review community meeting I had attended previously. Even though the reporter’s questions seemed to primarily focus on the police complaints (which were about 15 minutes of an 85-minute meeting), I didn’t initially ponder about it.
The next day, to my surprise, the article I thought was going to be on the overall audit and review meeting (composed of my experience and other attendees’ experiences as well) was focused on the racial profiling complaint cases, focusing on my interview and other Black Lives Matter of Columbus board members’ interview under the heading “Racial profiling claims rejected” as front page news.
I’m writing this rebuttal because I am the organizer of Black Lives Matter in Columbus and feel this piece has misrepresented my actual feelings about the complaint process and law enforcement. First, I believe the complaint process should be used and more civilians should be aware of the audit and review procedure, so as to become more informed about their civilian rights.
Second, I never said, “Body-worn videos are not necessarily helpful to the Black Lives Matter movement.” But I will write my actual opinion on body-worn cameras. In some cases, footage from these cameras displaying a police encounter with a civilian, which results anywhere from harassment to death, isn’t always considered as substantial evidence in defense of the particular civilian’s case (black, white, Latino, etc.). With recent cases on a local and national scale, I feel body-worn camera footage is sometimes seen as subjective evidence more than objective in some cases.
Third, in regard to the statement, “The police department is allowed to review its own complaints. To that end, King said she thinks others should be involved in the complaint-review process.” While this statement is true, it is not complete. Police officers defend their case when informed that a complaint has been filed against them. The officer’s supervisor or a representative of the chief investigates, and a disposition of the complaint is made and reviewed with the board of captains.
The complaint audit-review process takes place only after there has been an appeal of the original complaint disposition made by police staff. The audit and review committee is composed of appointed residents, and they make the final ruling on the complaint disposition. I believe there should also be civilians involved in evaluating complaints instead of only police department staff.
Also, it appeared to me that only well-connected people made up the audit and review committee. I believe it would be helpful to have some regular people on this committee as well. This would not only make the civilians feel their complaint has been properly processed, but would also give the community more confidence in the police complaint evaluation process and dispel any question of bias.
I do plan on attending these meetings regularly.