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Attorney For Columbus Officers Charged With Mishandling Protesters Says They're Ready To Fight Their Case

Protesters on the sidewalk of the Ohio Statehouse face Columbus Police officers, who stood in the middle of High Street, on June 1, 2020.
Paige Pfleger
/
WOSU

The attorney representing three Columbus Police officers accused of misconduct during the Black Lives Matter protests last year says his clients are ready to fight the charges in a jury trial.

“It’s clear that they used the appropriate use of force,” said attorney Mark Collins. "It’s clear that they were following the police directives and the standard operating procedures that were in place. It’s clear that they filed the guidelines of their sergeants and lieutenants.”

Officers Traci Shaw, Phillip Walls, and Sgt. Holly Kanode face misdemeanor charges for their conduct while handling protesters in May 2020 after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. They have all pleaded not guilty.

Collins said his law firm is in the process of attaining a use-of-force expert.

Videos of the police encounters with protesters showed some officers pepper-spraying and pushing peaceful protesters.

“The difficulty in these situations are you see one snippet of a video and people make judgments and comments on that, however, the law mandates that you look at the totality of the situation,” said Collins.

The misdemeanor charges followed a federal judge's ruling in April that the division mishandled the protests and used force against protesters without provocation.

“These 3 officers are 100% were doing exactly what the guidelines mandate under the Supreme Court case law, (and) under the police directives,” said Collins.

City and police leaders have admitted that mistakes were made during the Black Lives Matter protests.