WCBE

City Leaders Respond To Columbus FOP's No-Confidence Vote

Aug 12, 2017

One of the police union's billboards critical of city leaders
Credit WCBE files

The Columbus Fraternal Order of Police has passed a no confidence vote in Columbus mayor Andy Ginther and two other city officials. 

FOP President Jason Pappas says the vote also includes Safety Director Ned Pettus and City Council President Zach Klein. The union's action follows the firing of white police officer Zachary Rosen, who was caught on video kicking a handcuffed black suspect in the head. Rosen was also involved in the shooting of black teenager Henry Green. Pappas says the union has lost confidence in officials' ability to lead. He says the July firing of Rosen is only one of the union's concerns. The union has also bought two billboard ads in the downtown area critical of Ginther and City Council. Ginther says public safety is the city's biggest budget item annually and he's committed to strengthening the department and hiring new officers. Klein says his support for officers is unwavering but he also expects them to perform their duties responsibly. Some local faith community leaders call the union's vote "disturbing" and issued urging the union to focus on improving relationships with the broader community. Reverend Tim Ahrens of First Congregational Church, which serves members of Columbus' black community, said in a statement "Along with many other pastors, rabbis, imams and religious leaders in Columbus, I stand ready to help broker better communications and improved relations between the police and our city leaders." Pastor Jason Ridley of Hilltop Community Worship Center said "If the FOP wants to vote on something, they should vote on getting officers more training to de-escalate situations instead of ending encounters with citizens in death. Defending violent officers like Zach Rosen just separates the police further from vulnerable communities they are supposed to protect." The union supported Ginther's opponent in the 2015 Columbus mayoral race. The union's vote comes as it engages in collective-bargaining discussions with the city.