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Two civil rights lawsuits relating to 2020 protests filed against Columbus police, city

Protesters on the sidewalk of the Ohio Statehouse face Columbus Police officers, who stood in the middle of High Street, on June 1, 2020.
WOSU
Protesters in downtown Columbus on June 4, 2020.

The Columbus Division of Police is facing a pair of new civil rights lawsuits stemming from downtown protests in the wake of the 2020 murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

The lawsuits were filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Columbus.

One of the lawsuits was filed against the City of Columbus, former police chief Thomas Quinlan and several officers for alleged excessive use of force, as well as psychological damage and other civil rights violations.

A separate lawsuit was also filed against the Columbus Division of Police and a number of officers by Licking County resident Gaige Treadway, who alleges his rights were violated when he was arrested on May 30, 2020.

Three Columbus police officers have pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the 2020 protests.

Special prosecutor Brad Nicodemus has announced that a criminal review of alleged misconduct by Columbus police did not yield enough evidence to warrant any additional charges relating to the protests.

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein's office released a statement in response to the lawsuits:

“In the two years since the onset of the protests, my office has worked diligently with the leadership of the Division of Police to implement meaningful reforms that are transforming the culture of justice in Columbus, from policing to prosecution. Whether it’s reforming non-violent protest response protocols, making systemic changes, or improving community-police relations, I remain committed to working toward a greater sense of justice, accountability and transparency for all who call Columbus home. Our work is not yet done, but in continued partnership with police leadership, I know we will always improve.”

Matthew Rand is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. Rand served as an interim producer during the pandemic for WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher.