An Ohio police officer has been removed from patrol duty after a video emerged of him stomping on a handcuffed suspect’s head—just two weeks after a grand jury failed to indict him for fatally shooting a civilian last year.
Officer Zachary Rosen, of the Columbus Division of Police, has been indefinitely reassigned to non-patrol duty while the incident is investigated, Sergeant Richard Weiner told The Daily Beast. According to Weiner, Rosen self-reported the incident, which occurred on Saturday.
The video, recorded by a passerby, shows Rosen kicking 22-year-old Demarko Anderson in the head while he’s face down and in handcuffs. Before being kicked, Anderson can be heard shouting “why are you being aggressive, sir?” at the arresting officer. Rosen suddenly runs in from outside the frame and kicks Anderson in the head.
“Are you serious?” Anderson shouts, “I got cuffs on, sir! Are you serious?”
Officers were investigating a report of a man, later identified as Anderson, threatening to shoot people inside a home in the North Linden neighborhood of Columbus on Saturday afternoon, court records show. Anderson allegedly threatened to “shoot all you motherfuckers” in the house.
When police confronted Anderson, he elbowed Officer Darren Stephens in the face and ran away, court records show. Police found Anderson a block away, where he was apprehended, arrested, and kicked in the head by Rosen.
“The action taken by one of our officers does not meet the standards by the Columbus Division of Police. It appears to be inconsistent with the values and training we instill in our officers,” Columbus police told local outlets in a statement.
Police say they found a handgun and a substance suspected to be crack cocaine in Anderson’s pants pockets. He was charged with resisting arrest, obstructing official business, aggravated menacing, possession of controlled substances, and having weapons under disability.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said in a statement that he was “disturbed and upset” when he saw the video of Rosen kicking Anderson. “The behavior we saw in the video was unacceptable and inconsistent with our values as a community. It erodes the trust the residents of this city place in law enforcement,” Ginther said.
Rosen was one of two officers involved in the fatal June 2016 shooting of 23-year-old Henry Green. In late March, a grand jury determined that their use of force was justified.
Witness accounts of the shooting widely vary, according to local media outlets. Police said that Green shot at the two plainclothes officers—Rosen and Officer Jason Bare—after they identified themselves as police and ordered him to drop the gun he was holding.
“As soon as I exited the vehicle, I know I yelled ‘Police!’ Uh, I’m 100 percent sure of that,” Rosen reportedly told investigators. When he was asked if he heard Bare identify himself as a police officer, Rosen said he did not.
“Detectives found that there were conflicting statements from the multiple witnesses interviewed about how the shooting occurred, who fired the first shot, whether the officers announced their status as police officers, whether the police badges around their neck on lanyards were observable, and whether the officers acted in self-defense or shot Henry Green for no apparent lawful purpose,” Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said in a statement.
“One witness interviewed by Detectives stated Mr. Green was shot after he was handcuffed and laying on the ground,” O’Brien said.
Some witnesses claimed that the incident was “an intentional shooting, without justification,” O’Brien told the Dispatch, but they weren’t considered credible by the grand jury. If they had been, he said, “an indictment would have been returned.”
No police officer has been indicted for shooting a civilian since O'Brien began serving as county prosecutor 20 years ago, WOSU Public Media reported.
Investigators determined that Green fired six shots, Bare fired seven, and Rosen fired 15. An autopsy found that Green was shot seven times.
“The facts in this case are that the officers acted appropriately. They were under fire, they returned fire to save themselves, the lives of themselves and the lives of the public around them,” said Jason Pappas, union president of Capital City Lodge No. 9 of the Fraternal Order of Police. “It’s unfortunate, the whole situation, but Mr. Green caused his own death.”
Green’s death is still being investigated by Columbus’s Firearms Review Board.
Regarding Rosen’s latest incident, Pappas told the Dispatch, “These actions happen quickly and it’s hard to discern all of the different actions that have occurred.”