Activists Want Columbus Police Officer Zachary Rosen Fired for Assaulting Suspect
One of the groups behind Justice for Henry Green has released a statement in response to a video released on Monday, which showed Columbus Police Officer Zachary Rosen kicking restrained suspect Demarko Anderson in the head.
“We are appalled, though not surprised, by the actions taken by Columbus Police officers in this video,” said the People’s Justice Project (PJP) in the statement. “Just a week after he was cleared by an internal investigation process touted by the Mayor and Chief Jacobs in the killing of Henry Green, Officer Zachary Rosen was back on the street assaulting a suspect.”
Last June, Rosen and fellow officer Jason Bare, dressed in plain clothes and driving an unmarked car, approached North Side resident Henry Green, 23. The police department and witnesses of the following confrontation have greatly differing stories, some claiming Green fired a gun first, others saying he was given no indication that the two men approaching him were officers. Green was shot multiple times and killed on June 6, 2016.
A Franklin County grand jury decided in March not to indict Rosen or Bare for the killing of Green, even after activist groups, including People’s Justice Project, protested aggressively and called for an independent investigation into the incident.
The statement PJP released criticized Mayor Andrew Ginther and City Council for continuing “to defend the columbus police and its culture of impunity.” The city’s Community Safety Initiative, The city’s Community Safety Initiative, which City Council Director of Media Relations Robin Davis said focuses on juvenile crime, gun violence and high-level felonies, came under fire as well. PJP has protested against the program, asserting that it targets black communities who already have a contentious relationship with law enforcement. The initiative was recently expanded. Originally reserved for summer months, when crime is more common, it will now continue all year.
“In a dark twist, this Friday – Good Friday – the CPD is set to begin an expanded, aggressive presence in our neighborhoods,” PJP continued. “Despite the killings of Henry Green and Ty’re King and this new video, the CPD is doubling down on aggressive tactics. We are demanding that the city end the deadly expanded community safety initiative and invest in community based violence intervention, restorative justice programs, trauma recovery.”
City Council released its own statement regarding the incident, stating “these actions are contrary to how we expect Columbus Division of Police officers to conduct themselves with the community especially during intense situations.”
“This behavior is questionable and inconsistent with the values of the City of Columbus. It erodes trust and confidence in our peace officers,” the statement continued. “Police Chief Jacobs is conducting a full investigation of the incident with appropriate review provided by the Department of Public Safety.”
PJP called for Rosen and Police Chief Kim Jacobs’ termination, saying “there must be consequences to violence by police officers and failed leadership in the department. Internal investigations and ‘desk duty’ clearly do nothing to deter violent behavior by police or keep our neighborhoods safe.”
The group has extended an invitation to Mayor Ginther to attend a public forum that will speak to the community about these issues. The date for the forum was not mentioned.
“Earlier this week, Gov. John Kasich acknowledged the deeply problematic relationship between the community and the police, saying, ‘If there are people who feel that they are being shut out, you have to listen to them. When people say ‘I don’t feel that the system is working for me,’ if it’s in large enough numbers, you’d better pay attention to it,’” PJP said. “If our conservative, Republican governor can go on the record and address this issue, why can’t our Democratic mayor?”