COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A Columbus police officer investigated for excessive use of force during the summer 2020 protests has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and the investigator who looked into the complaints.
Officer Traci Shaw’s lawsuit claims that the city and investigator Richard Wozniak, the deputy director of the Columbus Department of Public Safety, violated her civil rights and engaged in malicious prosecution, civil conspiracy and several other counts. Shaw was accused of assault, interfering with civil rights, and dereliction of duty for a May 30, 2020 incident in which she allegedly pepper-sprayed four protesters. Those charges were dropped in July 2022.
Shaw was one of three officers charged out of Wozniak’s investigation. One of the officers was acquitted in July 2022, while charges against the third were also dropped.
In the lawsuit, Shaw claims she suffered “extreme emotional distress, lost wages, and other losses” due to Wozniak and the city’s actions, and that Wozniak’s conduct was “willful, malicious, oppressive and in reckless disregard of the constitutional rights” of Shaw.
Shaw is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorney’s fees.