Julius Tate

On Friday, February 28th, representatives from the Columbus Freedom Coalition, including Julius Tate Jr.’s parents and sibling, met with mayor Andrew Ginther at the MLK Branch Library to discuss the mayor’s complicity and role in Columbus Police Department’s (CPD) continued terrorism of Black communities. Ultimately the disingenuous nature displayed by city officials made the meeting a waste of time for the family, putting the coalition in a position where it was impossible to hold a conversation about what justice looks like. 

As an abolitionist coalition, we understand how unlikely it is for city officials like Mayor Ginther to divest from their own power in favor of abolition; but we understand, too, how important it can be to speak truth to power. We went into this meeting intending to confront Mayor Ginther and his office with the human impact of their egregious policies on state violence. During Ginther’s tenure, for example, only one officer has been indicted for murder, though, as WOSU just reported, 5.4 million dollars have been spent on settling police lawsuits in the last decade. When questioned about this, Ginther said: “I am just here to listen,” though he failed throughout the meeting to make eye contact with or answer direct questions from Julius Tate Jr.’s family.

Ginther has made it clear throughout his tenure that he values CPD over the lives of our youth. His currently proposed budget allocates 647 MILLION to “public safety,” as opposed to a mere 6 million for public education. The consequences of this are dangerous. Already in 2020, police in Columbus have shot seven civilians. Three of those victims have been children. Mayor Ginther’s monetary allocations speak louder than any of his public statements: by continuing to invest in CPD, Ginther has shown that the lives of Black youth matter less to him than his allegiance to killer cops.

Julius Tate Jr., was only 16 when he was executed by CPD under mayor Ginther’s watch. Yet mayor Ginther failed to meet with Tate’s family on his own accord. Today, Robert Green, father, Jamita Maloney, mother, Maryam Muhammad, sister, spoke about their experience and pain for the first half of the meeting, saying: “we need your support.” In response, mayor Ginther said “I am just here to listen today.” This was followed by the mayor's staff interrupting Maryam and Jamita, and a refusal to offer any condolences or support for the family.

We expect that Mayor Ginther will continue to put forth hollow expressions of care, like this meeting, but we know that if he really wanted to make a difference in the lives of families like that of Julius Tate Jr., he would divest from the police and invest in REAL “public safety”: community-centered mutual aid made for and by the people targeted by State violence.