COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A Columbus police officer who shot a man seen running away after a traffic stop Sunday was involved in a similar shooting just months earlier.
The details came out Monday as Columbus police released body camera footage of the incident.
About 3 p.m. Sunday, officers stopped a car on the South Side near the intersection of Stanley and Wilson avenues. A man inside, 66-year-old Michael Cleveland, got out shortly after being approached and began running away. Officer Joshua Ohlinger gave chase, first pulling his Taser before dropping it and unholstering his gun. He shot at Cleveland multiple times.
The body camera footage showed Cleveland throwing something out of a pocket on his right side, which police said was a gun. Ohlinger fired his gun what sounded like six times.
Chief Elaine Bryant said Cleveland was not wanted on any warrants but that his driver’s license was suspended. He has been charged with having weapons while under disability, meaning he wasn’t allowed to be legally carrying one for several possible reasons.
Ohlinger is a five-year veteran of the department. The incident marked the second time he has been named as an officer in a shooting. In late August, Ohlinger shot a 17-year-old during a traffic stop after the teenager and an 18-year-old got out of the car and displayed handguns, according to police. The 17-year-old was reported in stable condition after the shooting.
Ohlinger is currently awaiting evaluation by a psychologist in connection to Sunday’s shooting, Bryant said.
Bryant said that Ohlinger was on leave for 89 days after the August shooting, a timeframe that would have seen him return to service in late November, just over two months before Sunday’s shooting.
Cleveland was taken to Grant Medical Center in serious condition but later upgraded.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was called around 4 p.m. Sunday to begin its investigation. Bryant said those investigations can, in some cases, last up to three years. And she cited the investigation for not answering certain questions, such as why Cleveland was pulled over.
“Again, BCI has this investigation,” Bryant said. “We can’t interview the officer, we can’t talk about this, this is all part of their actual investigation. All we can do is actually show you what we actually saw on the video, so that’s all I can go into right now.”
Other people inside the car were detained by police. Ohlinger and other officers were not injured.
Co-faciliator of the Area Religious Coalition Rev. Tim Ahrens watched Monday’s update from police.
“It’s disturbing we continue to throw down a Taser and pull out a handgun in pursuing someone who, what was the crime?” Ahrens said.