COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs says she is “sad and embarrassed” over remarks made at the scene of a violent arrest.
Police Chief Kim Jacobs said Officer Joseph Bogard was heard making the remarks on body camera video taken at the scene where Timothy Davis was arrested.
Cell phone video of the arrest allegedly showing Davis being kicked and punched by officers has been viewed thousands of times online.
Bogard was one of a number of patrol officers who responded to the call of an officer in trouble. His comments about the arrest, recorded by his body camera, are now the subject of an internal affairs investigation:
“What did we tase him for? Why didn’t we just choke the f****** life out of him.”
Another officer responds saying: “I think they did for a while. They were really throwing punches.”
“Good. Good,” Bogard says.
As a handcuffed and hog tied Davis complains to officers that he can’t breathe, Bogard’s comments seem to suggest he is enjoying the scene. “I’m a little aroused at this Davis. Just so you know. (Laughter)”
Bogard later describes for a fellow officer how he might have handled the takedown of Davis:
“You have to choke him. You can’t, there’s no ‘ok I’m going to arm bar you to the ground. Stop resisting sir.’ No, I’m going to, for real, arm bar you and then when that still doesn’t work, I’m going to choke the life out of you. And then while you’re drooling on yourself, I’ll handcuff you.”
Bogard’s badge and gun have been taken away pending the investigation. Chief Jacobs said his remarks were inappropriate and unprofessional.
FOP President Jason Pappas says Bogard’s comments were inappropriate but don’t rise to the level of being relieved of duty.
“The officer made a statement that he now wishes he hadn’t made,” Pappas said. “I’ve spoken to the officer. He’s absolutely remorseful and wishes he could take it back.”
Tammy Alsaada of the People’s Justice Project believes the videos of the violent confrontation with Davis and the officer’s comments tell a bigger story about the culture within the police department. “If we have a rogue police force and officers that comfortable with body cameras exhibiting that type of behavior – then Columbus has a bigger problem than I thought we have,” Alsaada said.
NBC4 requested officer Bogard’s personnel file after the department stripped him of his badge and gun.
We’ve uncovered that this is not the first time he’s been in trouble for his language.November 9,
November 9, 2014, records show officer Bogard “Engaged in conduct which violated the accepted standards for an employee of the division of police,”. His record shows he did this by using profanity towards a citizen. This was documented in his personnel file.
In an email to Columbus Division of Police staff Wednesday, Chief Jacobs said:
Policing is tough enough as it is, but we don’t need to make it harder on ourselves. We are in the midst of another attack on our integrity by some people who believe we are brutal thugs. I have never believed that as a description of the type of work I see being done around here every day. So I can’t tell you how sad and embarrassed I was today when I heard comments being made on one of our own body cameras, by the officer wearing the camera, that gives both our non-supporters and supporters, reason to question all of our intentions. Yes it was just one officer, but we all wear the same uniform and comments like these shock the conscience. The media is getting the bwc video this afternoon and it will probably be on the news tonight. If people ask you about it today or tomorrow or in the future, I want you to be prepared for their condemnation and concerns. You can tell them, like I always do, that this does not represent the many good men and women that work here. But it is situations like this that anger our friends and give fuel to those that already don’t trust us.
I haven’t lost faith in you but I have great concern about this particular officer as does his chain of command. I don’t know if these comments also reflect his behavior and until we know, he is being relieved of duty. The rumors will possibly fly about this so I wanted to alert you before it hits the news and rumor mill. I haven’t heard one Division member defend these comments or make excuses for why they would be said. I am ashamed that the good work done today when officers talked down a suicidal person in crisis, and on Friday when everyone responded so well to the active shooter will be lost in the uproar over these comments.
But I understand the uproar-because the words said will never be appropriate in policing. Trust is critical to your safety and support from our community. When it breaks it is hard to win back. Please understand the seriousness of this situation and the impact it can have on our community and our Division. Be careful and demonstrate every day in everything you do that you respect human life and dignity.