Officials in Columbia, Ohio, are seeking an explanation for a strange traffic stop by non-uniformed, mask-wearing police officers who jumped out of unmarked vans, reports the city’s Dispatch. The paper reported that a man and his teenage son were chased, stopped and frisked on May 7 by officers later identified as members of the Police Division’s Strategic Response Bureau. The division’s internal affairs bureau is investigating. Police policy dictates that only uniformed officers in marked cars can stop drivers for traffic violations.
Allen R. Walker had driven Downtown at 1:45 a.m. on May 7 to pick up his father from his job as a custodian. The two were headed home when two vans and a Crown Victoria on the other side of the street made U-turns and began pursuing them. The father, also named Allen Walker, told his son to keep driving home. When they got there, eight to 10 men with guns jumped out of the vehicles and shouted commands. The men said they were Columbus police, but their vehicles weren’t marked. They were dressed in black fatigues, and some wore masks. Neither father nor son saw badges, but one of the men wore a ball cap with the word “police.”