A police officer in Columbus, Ohio, fatally shot an unarmed Black man while responding to a noise complaint without turning on his body camera.
While the unnamed officer was temporarily relieved from duty pending internal investigations, Mayor Andrew Ginther demanded for the officer to be removed.
“While it is very early in the investigation, there is one fact that disturbs me greatly,” said Ginther in a news conference Tuesday.
“The officer involved did not turn on their body-worn camera until after the shooting.”
According to a Columbus Department of Public Safety news release, the officer responded to a non-emergency call around 1:30am, when a caller reported that a man had been sitting in his SUV for an extended period, repeatedly turning his engine on and off.
While the two responding officers did not activate their body-worn cameras before engaging the unidentified man, the cameras offer a 60-second “look back” function – which recorded the actual shooting albeit without audio.
The recording shows the man walking towards the officer with a cell phone in his left hand, but his right hand was not visible.
At about 2:30am, one of the officers fired his weapon and shot the 47-year-old man, and the bodycam captured “a delay in rendering of first-aid to the man.”
“It is unacceptable to me and the community that the officers did not turn on their camera,” Ginther said.
“Let me be clear: If you’re not going to turn on your body-worn camera, you cannot serve and protect the people of Columbus.”
Police Chief Thomas Quinlan stated that the fatal shooting was “a tragedy on many levels”, and promised to “provide as much transparency as possible” throughout the investigation.
“Our community deserves the facts,” Quinlan said.
“If evidence determines that laws or policies were violated, officers will be held accountable.”