The new review panel will require changes to the police union contract, up at the end of the year, and the city is prepared to begin negotiations now, Ginther said.
Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther will establish a model for an independent civilian police review board by July and seat the panel by January, he said.
The city also is reevaluating the use of chemical irritants and sprays to disperse crowds, Ginther said at a Friday news conference.
"The only power that law enforcement has is what’s granted to them by the community," Ginther said. "The chain of command ultimately leads to the people of this city."
But before any civilian board begins investigating the actions of any officers in Columbus, the city needs to change its contract with the police union, which expires at the end of the year. The city is prepared to begin negotiations, Ginther said.
"These recommendations will build trust that has eroded in the minority community," said Janet Jackson, the chairwoman of a Community Safety Advisory Commission appointed by Ginther.
The advisory group was announced in January 2018 in the wake of a string of Columbus police shootings that roiled the community.
The panel released recommendations in January that included the creation of a civilian review panel. But no action had been announced since, until Friday.
City Council President Shannon Hardin called for the oversight-panel idea to move forward. He, other local black politicians and other protesters were pepper-sprayed by police last weekend at Downtown protests against police brutality and the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
While much of the discussion since has been about holding police officers accountable, "the truth is there has to be accountability for the mayor, myself and the police chief," Hardin said Friday.
Also Friday, Gov. Mike DeWine said a member of the Ohio National Guard deployed to Washington, D.C., this week was found to have expressed what the governor called "white supremacist ideology" on social media pages before deployment.
The guardsman has been suspended from all missions, DeWine said.
"While I fully support everyone’s right to free speech, guardsmen and women are sworn to protect all of us, regardless of race, ethnic background or religion," DeWine said. "Anyone who displays malice toward specific groups of Americans has no place in the Ohio National Guard."
If a federal investigation confirms the allegation, the person will be permanently removed from the Ohio National Guard, DeWine said.
Ohio sent 100 Guard members to the capital at the request of the U.S. secretary of defense, DeWine said.
At the city’s news conference Friday, police Chief Thomas Quinlan was asked whether police acted more aggressively toward the Floyd protesters than they had in April toward protesters at the Statehouse who demanded an end to the state’s coronavirus stay-home orders.
Quinlan said police officers don’t care who the protesters are or what their message is — only what their actions are. The coronavirus-shutdown protesters weren’t throwing objects at police and weren’t breaking the windows of the Statehouse and businesses.
The Floyd protests, on the other hand, turned into riots that put officers’ safety at risk, Quinlan said.
"I have a duty to protect to the public, but I also have a duty to protect officers," Quinlan said. In the first few days of the protests, 166 officers were injured, and several required hospital treatment, he said.
Several commission members noted that the coronavirus-shutdown protesters, most of whom were white, got better treatment even though some had automatic weapons.
However, while most of the Floyd protesters were unarmed, some also brandished guns and baseball bats. When Quinlan marched with protesters on Tuesday, a young man with whom he walked and chatted was openly carrying a large semi-automatic handgun holstered on his chest, and guns were visible at protests outside City Hall.
"We’re focusing on their actions," Quinlan said, noting that police have a legal duty to respond to property destruction.
"I want everybody here to pause," Jackson interjected, noting that damage to "objects and things" is different from damage to "souls and spirits."
Some commission members questioned the need for the use of tear gas, saying that its effects on health are unclear and that at times its use seemed to provoke the protesters and escalate tensions.
But without it, "what other options have you left us?" Quinlan asked, suggesting it would be much more dangerous for everyone if police had to physically confront protesters.
Some commission members accused the police of using gas and chemical sprays on peaceful protesters who were doing nothing wrong.
Several discussed videos circulating on social media showing police disregarding departmental guidelines by firing wooden bullets, which should never be fired directly at people but rather "skipped" off the ground.
Ginther said many of those guidelines themselves are weak, meeting only a minimum legal standard.
Quinlan responded that any video evidence of officers disregarding guidelines on the use of force should be forwarded to the department for investigation.
"I’ve been getting them night and day; we can’t even keep up," said Jackson, a former Franklin County Municipal Court judge and Columbus city attorney.
Also Friday, the Columbus chapter of the NAACP demanded that any new citizen police review board have subpoena powers.
The chapter also wants City Council to pass legislation "mandating a zero-tolerance approach in penalizing and/or prosecuting police officers who kill unarmed, nonviolent and non-resisting individuals in an arrest procedure."
"We’re not going to settle for anything less," Nana Watson, president of the Columbus chapter, said during the noon news briefing at Trinity Baptist Church on the Near East Side.
She also said the NAACP has no interest in forming a partnership with the Columbus police union, the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter, although she wants to have a conversation with the union about the community’s concerns.
Larry Price, who leads the NAACP chapter’s criminal justice committee, said subpoena powers are necessary because too many other civilian review boards across the country have no teeth or power.
"For far too many centuries, black people across the country have been treated as if our lives mean nothing," Price said. "We have been brutalized, murdered, disregarded, and so much more. Enough is enough. We are tired of seeing our black family members laying lifeless in the street."
The local NAACP also wants increased officer training on racial bias, mental health and deescalation tactics; a ban on knee and choke holds; more minority officers; and a review of records to investigate whether officer misconduct is shielded from public disclosure.
DeWine said Friday that he and the General Assembly have been discussing police reforms and will continue to do so. He said he will reveal details of reforms soon.
"I’m committed to making tangible changes in police oversight, training, accreditation and accountability," DeWine said. "Our goal is to improve the professionalism of the profession."
DeWine, a former Greene County prosecutor, said most of the police officers he has met are "wonderful individuals," but "we also know that occasionally someone slips in, and we have to be ever vigilant."
Dispatch Reporter Alissa Widman Neese contributed to this story.