The City Council in Columbus, Ohio voted on Monday (October 26) to pay $475,000 to an African-American police officer. The settlement comes after a 28-year veteran of the department said he faced retaliation for reporting racism and other misconduct by a superior.
Karl Shaw is not alone in saying he experienced discriminatory treatment working in the state’s capital. Mayor Andrew Ginther, through his spokeswoman, called racism in the department “systemic” and three officers, including Shaw’s old partner, have also filed discrimination lawsuits against the department.
“Black police officers who take an oath to protect the life and liberty of their communities far too often are muted, voiceless, subjugated and marginalized if they courageously speak their truth,” said Councilwoman Shayla Favor, according to CNN. “This is a tragedy for our city. It is our duty to create a safe space for every resident who seeks justice and reform.”
As a part of the settlement, Shaw is demanding the city fire an officer for any instance of discrimination within the department. His attorney, Fred Gittes, says the large settlement wasn’t agreed upon without the provision.
“He did this for younger officers, and he would like to see more Black officers,” Gittes said. “He was helped by good White officers who take the responsibility of being truthful and standing up for the law seriously, but unfortunately the chain of command doesn’t take it seriously.”
An operational review of the Columbus Police Department found that 51 percent of officers had experienced discrimination at some point in their careers. According to a mayoral spokesperson, the city has launched a commission to look at the CPD’s policies and procedures.
A third-party review conducted last year also found that Columbus residents felt police discrimination was a problem and that complaints from Black residents aren’t taken seriously.