Columbus Police Chief Condemns Officers’ Handling of Child Exploitation Case

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The Columbus Ohio Police Chief, Elaine Bryant, has expressed her vehement disapproval of an episode where two officers informed a father that his 11-year-old daughter might be indicted for child pornography charges following her transmission of images to a man on the internet.

As soon as the police department became aware of the encounter, which was recorded on a doorbell camera, immediate action was taken to connect with the father, extend an apology and affirm that a comprehensive investigation into both the officers’ conduct and any offenses committed against his child was underway, according to Bryant.

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Bryant emphasized her expectation that every officer under her command must interact with crime victims, embodying empathy, respect, and honor. The incident caught on video, she noted, starkly contradicted this expectation, hence the necessity for the Inspector General’s involvement.

The named video showed the arrival of two Columbus officers at the father’s house, identified as Billy Blocka. Blocka had contacted the police after discovering that his daughter had been coerced into sharing her photos with an online male stranger.

In the video, as the father articulates his desire for the officers to admonish his daughter and help her comprehend the gravity of her actions, one of the officers points out that the girl could indeed be charged with production of child pornography. Blocka, surprised, reiterates his daughter’s tender age, receiving a curt response from the officer stating that the girl’s age doesn’t exempt her from the law.

Infuriated by their stance, Blocka politely dismisses the officers, wishes them a pleasant evening and thanks them for their time. He is visibly taken aback as he closes the door behind them. He later made the video public on Facebook.

Blocka, sharing his experience with CNN, revealed that it was his first experience dealing with the police, and that it was his mother who encouraged him to seek their help due to the potential threat the online predator could pose to others.

He mentioned that he discovered the inappropriate images and messages on his daughter’s phone, leading him to the unsettling realization that his daughter had been communicating with the man for roughly a month through Instagram and Snapchat. Blocka expressed his concern regarding his daughter’s comprehension of the unfolding events and emphasized the importance of her safety.

He also revealed that the man is still attempting to contact his daughter and that later in the week, the police Special Victims Bureau will be meeting with her and scrutinizing her phone.

The Department of the Inspector General, according to the Columbus Police Department, has launched a full-scale investigation into the incident involving the officers. The utmost seriousness is given to all allegations of sexual misconduct, especially those involving minors.

Columbus Inspector General, Jacqueline Hendricks, confirmed that her office has been alerted about the circulating video and they have received numerous complaints from citizens about it, assuring that every complaint is treated seriously.

Bryant reinforced her commitment to accountability, emphasizing that this incident does not mirror the police division’s morality. She stated that officers should expect endorsement when their actions were correct, and accountability when they were wrong.

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Melinda Cochrane is a poet, teacher and fiction author. She is also the editor and publisher of The Inspired Heart, a collection of international writers. Melinda also runs a publishing company, Melinda Cochrane International books for aspiring writers, based out Montreal, Quebec. Her publication credits include: The art of poetic inquiry, (Backalong Books), a novella, Desperate Freedom, (Brian Wrixon Books Canada), and 2 collections of poetry; The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat, (Backalong Books), and She’s an Island Poet, Desperate Freedom was on the bestseller's list for one week, and The Man Who Stole Father’s Boat is one of hope and encouragement for all those living in the social welfare system. She’s been published in online magazines such as, (regular writer for) ‘Life as a Human’, and Shannon Grissom’s magazine.