Friday, January 27

Columbus Civilian Police Review Board recommends removal of LGBTQ+ member

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On Monday, the Columbus Civilian Police Review Board (CPRB) voted to recommend the removal of one of its members following social media posts regarding the police response to the Proud Boys protest of the Holi-Drag Storytime event.

Gambit S. Aragon  was appointed in 2021 by Mayor Andrew J. Ginther to the CPRB, a group intended to “provide civilian oversight of police for the first time in Columbus history.”

Following the appearance of the Proud Boys — far-right extremist group — in the Columbus-area on December 3 to protest a children’s event, Aragon reposted images on Twitter of police officers appearing to stand peacefully by the armed extremists, with the commentary of “Not here for us” and an expletive regarding the police.

Mayor Ginther then posted on his Facebook account calling for Aragon’s resignation, alleging that Aragon has a “bias against law enforcement” and is “working against police to keep the community safe.”

In response, Aragon released a public statement that he was “shocked” to see Ginther’s statement on social media as opposed to Aragon’s receiving a call from the mayor who appointed him.

Addressing Ginther, Aragon wrote, “your desire to remove the brown queer nonbinary person that spoke up against hate groups and those who support them, solidifies why I and people like me still will continue to use our voice. I still believe I can do some good in this position.”

At their special meeting Monday, the CPRB voted 8-1 to recommend Aragon’s removal on the grounds of “neglect of duty.”

The recommendation now heads to Mayor Ginther, who has the authority to remove members of the board.

In a statement provided to The Buckeye Flame, Mayor Ginther’s office said that he will follow the recommendation of the board and work with City Council to replace Aragon “with another member of the community committed to police oversight without prejudice.” 🔥

About Author

Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame. He received the 2021 Sarah Pettit Memorial Award for the LGBTQ Journalist of the Year from the NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists. He is the author of "Seriously, What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew" (2017), "LGBTQ Cleveland" (2018), "LGBTQ Columbus" (2019), and "LGBTQ Cincinnati" (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University.

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