COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A Columbus police officer charged with alleged misconduct during a protest activity in 2020 now faces additional counts.
The charges filed Monday against Officer Traci Shaw are one count each of Assault (M-1), Interference with Civil Rights (M-1), and Dereliction of Duty (M-2), the City of Columbus said in a media release.
However Shaw’s legal team said in a statement that she was being made a scapegoat, and would enter a “not guilty” plea at arraignment.
These charges stem from the same incident on May 30, 2020 that resulted in Shaw being charged on June 9, 2021. Special prosecutor Kathleen Garber and independent investigator Rick Wozniak filed the charges. The new charges, which mirror the charges previously filed against Shaw, are the result of further investigation which identified a fourth person who was pepper sprayed by Shaw, the release said.
Investigations remain open with respect to unidentified officers, unidentified victims, as well as in those events that involve witness officers who have not yet been interviewed, pending an arbitration decision, the media release concluded.
In a statement to NBC4 reporter Jamie Ostroff, the defense team for Shaw said:
“Today’s charges almost marks the one year and five month anniversary of when these alleged actions have taken place. Deputy Director Wozniak and Special Prosecutor Kathleen Garber have had approximately 500 plus days to investigate and initiate these charges, and here we are.
“In spite of policy directives permitting mace, the Sixth Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals allowing for qualified immunity for an excessive force for the use of mace, and the Mayor stating that, “officers acted within the amended policy when they used pepper spray and mace,” Deputy Director Wozniak and Special Prosecutor Kathleen Garber continue their quest to make Officer Traci Shaw a scapegoat. The City, Deputy Director, and Special Prosecutor need a scapegoat to mask how underprepared and incompetent the then-acting-chief-of-police and his higher-ups were. Thankfully, the sergeants and lieutenants who were on the ground and being assaulted, were better equipped to provide guidance within the confines of the law, their training, and police directives.
“What it really does, however, practically speaking, is it demonstrates just how weak their case is. Hopefully, this time around, Investigator Wozniak and Special Prosecutor Garber interview all of the officers involved in an attempt to get the TOTALITY OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES – what the Supreme Court of the United States mandates in these kinds of cases.
“We look forward to reviewing the additional discovery that will be provided as part of these charges with respect to this new alleged Prosecuting Witness, and we will most certainly be entering a Not Guilty Plea come arraignment.”
Mark C. Collins
Kaitlyn C. Stephens