By Sarah Calams
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The third and final Columbus Division of Police officer has been cleared of all charges related to alleged misconduct during 2020 protests in downtown Columbus.
Officer Phillip Walls was accused of pepper spraying protestors – an incident that later led to charges of assault, dereliction of duty and interfering with civil rights, NBC4i.com reported. The dropped charges mark the end of a two-year investigation against three Columbus police officers charged with misdemeanors.
“Part of their briefing before they arrived at that corner was that they were going to be clearing those protesters and to get their mace out,” prosecutor Brad Nicodemus told NBC4. “Officer Walls did not mace everybody. There were a number of people that cleared and he did not mace them … only those persons who were not clearing the area.”
The agency has since made changes to its use of force and crowd control policies, including the restriction of using tear gas, pepper spray and other “control agents” to disperse non-violent protesters, according to The Columbus Dispatch. The department has also placed limits on less-lethal measures, such as rubber and wooden bullets.