Black man's face with a goatee and purple baseball cap looking sad and words Timothy Davis, stripped naked latest victim of Columbus police brutality

A viral cell phone video of a nine-minute long police assault of an unarmed man inside a Livingston Avenue convenience store on September 1, horrified and sickened many people who viewed it.

The video, shot by a bystander inside the store, shows a black man being attacked and brutally beaten by men, who look like skinheads, who turned out to be plainclothes members of the Columbus Police gang unit. The store owner insists he did not call the police on Timothy Davis, who had not committed any crime in the store. Later, the officers can be heard on police bodycam video saying they followed Davis into the store because there was a warrant for his arrest.

Police justified their violent gang action against Davis in a filed criminal complaint because he “tensed up” to fight. The cell phone video documenting the incident begins with four plainclothes cops grabbing Davis, holding his arms behind his back, while telling him to put his hands behind his back. Seconds later, Davis is on the ground surrounded by the four officers. One officer punches Davis six times and another officer pushes a rack of food items in front of the cell phone videographer to block the recording.

In the video police are heard barking “Stop resisting! Stop resisting!” while they beat and pummel Davis on the floor. This is a common tactic police use when they need an excuse to beat someone up. Later, they will all have a beer and get their stories straight so they can show up in court and “test-a-lie” under oath. The Free Press has covered numerous cases where the police beat the hell out of people, always while yelling “Stop resisting!” All we have ever seen is a face trying to resist a police fist.

In the video, an officer enters the store and with all his bodily might stomps on Davis. While Davis is immobile and held on the ground by at least three police, another undercover cop enters and with full force kicks Davis in the ribs and follows up with another short kick.

A smack to Davis is so audibly loud that the man holding the cell phone can be heard saying, “They’re about to kill [him].” The video shows that the police had stripped Davis virtually naked and are heard shouting “Tase him again!”

Finally some uniformed officers show up and prolong what appears like a sadistic ritual with the nearly naked Davis. Police on top of Davis restrained his arms and legs. The videographer points out the impossibility of Davis putting his hands behind his back when eight cops are on top of him.

Police motives for the attack are suspect. Davis was wanted on a warrant for assaulting a police officer. And the Columbus Police, priding themselves on being the biggest, baddest and most above-the-law gang in the city, decided to dispense their well-known brand of vigilante justice.

Another video surfaced on ABC6 news depicting what happened after the beating. Police are milling around outside talking among themselves and their words are almost as nauseating as their attack on Davis. After Davis was beat nearly to death, police continued torturing Davis as he laid outside against what looks like a paddy wagon. Barely able to speak, Davis continually blurts out “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe” and the cops tell him he’s an “asshole.” He repeatedly says “Help…help…help” and “I can’t breathe, sir” to which the cops tell him “Stop it, you can breathe.”

Officer Bogard then comments to his friends, “I'm going to for real arm-bar you, and when that still doesn't work, I'm going to choke the life out of you. While you're drooling on yourself, I'll handcuff you.” He later says he choked Davis “’cause it was better than shooting him and going to fucking jail.”

A police sergeant is heard ordering six cops to escort the severely injured Davis to the county jail instead of a hospital and later assigns four police guards to go with him if they send him to a hospital. Even further news stories showed how Davis was carried by two men, each holding an arm and a leg, into the Franklin County Jail “like an animal,” his mother stated.

Bogard was relieved of duty while Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther and Police Chief Kim Jacobs expressed how appalled they were at the officer’s words. In suspending Bogard, Jacobs said she was “sad and embarrassed by his comments.” She got it half right. She was offended by Bogard’s comments instead of the violent criminal assault of the undercover police thugs that beat Timothy Davis nearly to death. If Jacobs could come to immediate judgment on the officer’s comments – why did not she immediately suspend the officers who committed felonious assault on Davis? While she was correct in suspending him – and ultimately he should be fired for such sentiments – she should have put the racist undercover cops who attempted to murder Davis behind bars. 

Much of the language used by the mainstream corporate media about the incident accepts the counter-factual police narrative: that they were using reasonable and appropriate force in Davis’ arrest. For example, the Dispatch wrote: “…with several officers joining in and trying to subdue Davis, whose pants come off at one point while they try to get him under control.”

Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Capital City Lodge #9 President Jason Pappas publicly stated that the police action during the arrest “looks completely justified to me.” The arresting tactics seem more appropriate for Mussolini’s Italy.

Demonstrators disrupted Columbus City Council meetings on September 11 and 18 demanding that Council rein in the police. Prior the September 18 meeting, Davis’ attorney announced a civil suit stating that the officers assaulting Davis attempted to cover up what was happening by falsely charging Davis with “resisting arrest.” The lawsuit asserts that the “unconstitutional conduct of the City of Columbus Police Department towards civilians, particularly African-Americans, has not changed” in the last 17 years.

The suit references the earlier Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit against the Columbus Police. In 2000, 24-year police veteran James Moss, of Police Officers for Equal Rights, turned over more than 300 sworn affidavits detailing police brutality and their unnecessary shootings in central Ohio. The Clinton administration’s DOJ, then under interim Director Bill Lan Lee, used the evidence to bring suit against the City of Columbus and their police force. With the election of George W. Bush, far less concerned with police brutality, the City and DOJ reached an agreement in 2002 that resulted in dash-cam videos in police cruisers.

In several key Columbus Police beatings and shootings, dash-cam audio, video or both were “accidentally turned off.” In March, Chief Jacobs admitted to losing 100,000 files of dash-cam videos.

Perhaps the greatest tragedy here is that the police, particularly the Internal Affairs Bureau, will investigate whether the police used excessive force. There are no checks and balances. No objective, neutral parties will assess the obvious police beat down. Columbus needs a democratically-elected civilian review board.

Bob Fitrakis ran for the Green Party candidate for Franklin County Prosecutor in 2016.


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