Former Columbus, Ohio, Police Chief Thomas Quinlan was demoted on Thursday following the high-profile shootings of two Black men under his jurisdiction, according to the Associated Press.
The decision was made by Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther after the police shootings of Andre Hill, 47, and Casey Goodson, 23, which rocked the city of Columbus over the last month. Hill was fatally shot in the garage of a friends home while holding a cell phone. Police failed to activate their body cameras and administer aid as he lay on the ground. Goodson was shot by officers who were investigating another incident as he entered his grandmother’s home.
“It became clear to me that Chief Quinlan could not successfully implement the reform and change I expect and that the community demands,” Ginther said. “Columbus residents have lost faith in him and in Division’s ability to change on its own. Chief Quinlan understood.”
Quinlan will now serve as deputy police chief until a replacement is found. He steps down after serving in the position since 2019, when he was chosen to head the department following the retirement of former police chief Kim Jacobs. Quinlan was chosen over Perry Tarrant, a former assistant police chief in Seattle, who is Black.
After selecting Quinlan Ginther reportedly urged Quinlan to focus on diversifying and eradicating racist officers throughout the ranks.
In addition to notifying the public of Quinlan’s job status, Mayor Ginther announced he would move forward with appointing members to the city’s first Civilian Review Board, which will oversee the police department. The board was created after community members passed the votes in November.
However the opportunity for Quinlan to head a department may still be available as recent events have proven. Last summer former Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields resigned from her position after a string of troubling police shootings and arrests at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement. She stepped down after the murder of Rayshard Brooks, a Black man who was gunned down after police approached him for sleeping in his vehicle in a Wendy’s drive-through lane.
Shields was recently sworn in as the Louisville Metro Police Department police chief, a department shrouded in controversy since the killing of Breonna Taylor, a Black 26-year-old EMT worker who was fatally struck by police during a botched raid.
The move complicates the tense relationship between local law enforcement and community activists who demand an overhaul of police leadership and policies in Louisville.