Columbus limits how police use force on protesters


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police in Ohio’s capital will be limited in how they can use force against protesters and will have to display officers’ names on their riot gear under changes being made to city law.

Columbus City Council approved the changes Monday. It comes two years after police faced criticism for responding to demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality by using physical violence, tear gas and pepper spray against protestors without provocation. That led to a $5.75 million settlement with people injured during the protests.

Those confrontations already prompted changes in Columbus. The mayor prohibited police use of tear gas and limited use of pepper spray to clear streets and disperse peaceful demonstrators. A subsequent order by a federal judge said police can’t inflict pain to punish or deter nonviolent protesters, and must ensure badge numbers are visible even when officers are wearing riot gear.

Such restrictions would be part of city law under the measures approved this week by Columbus council members.