COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Soon after protesters gathered outside City Hall, the group marched to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office on Monday night to demand changes after two police-involved shootings.
“I’m tired,” Dominga Black said. “I’m 16 years old. What if it was me?”
Council members stepped outside at City Hall to meet with the protesters and talk about ways to move forward. Among them was Council President Zach Klein, who is running for Franklin County Prosecutor against incumbent Ron O’Brien.
“We cannot be the government we want to be or that the people deserve without community participation,” Klein said to the protesters gathered on the steps. “We embrace dialogue, we embrace criticism and we embrace ideas.”
Outside the prosecutor’s office, Tammy Fournier-Alsaada of the People’s Justice Project yelled, “We want a city that listens to all of its citizens.”
Fournier-Alsaada said while she believes city council members are acting in good faith by taking steps to address the protesters’ concerns, she wants Columbus police and prosecutor O’Brien to step up.
“We don’t feel that it’s unreasonable to ask for an independent investigation when you have [this] many people doubting that this can be handled within the local police department,” Fournier-Alsaada said.
Earlier in the day, O’Brien spoke with NBC4 and explained the grand jury process used for every fatal shooting. He said a special prosecutor can be brought in if there’s a conflict of interest. However, in these cases, he said his office doesn’t regularly work with patrol officers.
“There certainly are never any winners on either side,” O’Brien said of police-involved shootings. “The police officer that’s found themselves using deadly force and then the deceased’s family.”
During the protest, Columbus police officers were out in cruisers and on bicycles alongside protesters. When NBC4 reached out to Columbus police for a comment Monday night, a spokesperson said the department did not have a statement.