Photo still from Youtube video by AndrewMarc

On Saturday, September 14, the Columbus Community held the Eighth annual Daymon Day Parade, an event that commemorates the life and work of Columbus Hip-Hop artist, bridge builder and icon Daymon Dodson. Dodson died unexpectedly at age 29 in 2006 of complications from an epileptic seizure. He was a beloved personality renowned for bringing young people together across musical genres and inspiring other local artists to pursue their dreams.

    The annual parade had a permit and organizers had paid for special duty police officers for the event. The event began with a mural painting at Tuttle Park and the parade was to proceed down Lane Avenue and finish with a DJ jam at the Beat Lounge on Oakland Ave. The paid-for special duty officers never arrived.

    As the peaceful parade made it's way down Lane Avenue nearly 20 Columbus Police Officers arrived by car and bicycle with helicopter support. They immediately attacked the parade with pepper spray for blocking traffic, despite it's parade permit, forcing it to the sidewalk. As the police riot continued, the mostly white officers began dragging parade participants off the sidewalk back into the street and using pain compliance holds on them while kneeling on their backs and necks. The marchers' expressions showed obvious pain and fear for their lives. Video shot from within the crowd can be seen here:

    The result was five citizens brutalized and arrested on as-yet unlisted charges. This attack is in line with the Columbus Police Department's long history of brutality, false arrest and contempt for young people and communities of color. This history led the United States Justice Department to file suit against the city in 1999 for a “Pattern and  Practice” of abusing its citizens and the Constitution. In that suit the Justice Department alleged:

6. CDP officers have engaged and continue to engage in a pattern or practice of using excessive force against persons in Columbus. This use of excessive force includes, but is not limited to:

a. use of excessive force in effecting arrests or detaining persons suspected of engaging in criminal activity; and

b. use of excessive force against persons who are carrying out a routine activity and either have not committed any crime or infraction or have committed a minor infraction.

7. CDP officers have engaged and continue to engage in a pattern or practice of falsely arresting and charging persons in Columbus. These false arrests and charges include, but are not limited to:

a. falsely arresting or charging persons who witness incidents of police misconduct or who otherwise are observing police conduct;

b. falsely arresting or charging persons who are believed likely to complain of police misconduct; and

c. falsely arresting or charging persons who behave or speak in a manner that is perceived by a CDP officer to be disrespectful but which does not constitute criminal behavior.

8. CDP officers have engaged in and continue to engage in other misbehavior, including, but not limited to:

a. falsifying official reports; and

b. conducting searches without lawful authority or in an improper manner.

9. The City of Columbus has tolerated the misconduct of individual officers, described in paragraphs 6-8 above, through its acts or omissions. These acts or omissions include, but are not limited to:

a. failing to implement a policy on use of force that appropriately guides the actions of individual officers;

b. failing to train CDP officers adequately to prevent the occurrence of misconduct;

c. failing to supervise CDP officers adequately to prevent the occurrence of misconduct;

d. failing to monitor CDP officers adequately who engage in or who may be likely to engage in misconduct;

e. failing to establish a procedure whereby citizen complaints are adequately investigated;

f. failing to investigate adequately incidents in which a police officer uses lethal or non-lethal force;

g. failing to fairly and adequately adjudicate or review citizen complaints, and incidents in which a police officer uses lethal or non-lethal force; and

h. failing to discipline adequately CDP officers who engage in misconduct.

    Sadly, with the end of the Clinton era the Bush Justice Department failed to carry the suit forward, as they were busy conducting torture in Guantanamo Bay, Au-Gharrib, Bagram Air Base and secret black sites around the globe. Columbus citizens still wait for federal acknowledgment that the guarantee of Constitutional rights applies to them even now under the Obama administration.  Obama's red line on chemical weapons use on civilians applies in Damascus but not on Lane Avenue.

    From the Free Press's preliminary investigation it is not clear how paid-for special duty officers were unavailable to help the march, but nearly 20 officers with air support were instantly available to attack it.

    The Free Press will continue to cover this story, interview participants and acquire every relevant record. By all indications this attack on the citizens by police was a pre-planned event.  Free Press reader will know by whom and why.