COLUMBUS — A police officer who subdued a restrained suspect in a way that appeared to show him kicking the suspect in the head has been fired.
The city’s public safety director announced the decision Monday in the case of officer Zachary Rosen. The ruling by Ned Pettus Jr. overrode a recommendation by Columbus police Chief Kim Jacobs that Rosen be suspended for 24 hours, amounting to three shifts.
A video taken April 8 shows a Columbus officer restraining a prone man and preparing to handcuff him when a second officer arrives and appears to kick him in the head.
Police have said the second officer, identified as Rosen, reported his action under standard police procedure for when force is used.
“The strike/stomp was an untrained technique and was found to be unreasonable,” police said in May following a report by a deputy chief.
Mayor Andy Ginther said he supports the decision.
“In the coming weeks, there will be much discussion about this decision,” Ginther, a Democrat, said Monday. “What I believe we can all agree on is that every person in every neighborhood deserves to be safe. That can only happen if the Division of Police and the community they serve work together.”
The union representing Columbus police demanded Rosen’s immediate reinstatement. Local Fraternal Order of Police president Jason Pappas said Rosen was fired in an unjust manner in a political decision by city administrators.
“This union will not tolerate our brothers and sisters being used as political pawns or scapegoats to the benefit of the administration,” Pappas said Monday.
Pappas earlier had criticized the findings against Rosen and had said no discipline was required. A sergeant, a lieutenant and a commander cleared Rosen before the deputy chief found fault with him, Pappas had said.
Rosen has 10 days to appeal the decision.
The arrest of suspect Demarko Anderson followed an investigation into reports of a man with a gun who had threatened to shoot up a house and everyone inside. Police said shots were fired during the confrontation and an officer was elbowed.
Anderson has pleaded not guilty to charges including improper handling of a firearm and aggravated menacing.
Anderson’s family referred to him as a victim of “the reckless acts of violence by Rosen” and said it was “pleased” Rosen had been fired. But it said it sought “more investigation into his prior acts” as a Columbus police officer.
Rosen also was involved in the fatal shooting of Henry Green last year. The families of Anderson and Green issued a joint statement after his firing.
“If the Columbus Division of Police cannot be counted on to properly investigate and discipline a reckless individual who was clearly unfit to be an officer, it calls into question their entire disciplinary history,” the families said. “What will Mayor Ginther do to ensure all officers are held accountable with regard to the excessive use of force against citizens, not just those caught on video?”
Rosen and another officer told investigators that they shot Green in June 2016 after he opened fire on them and that they feared for their lives. They said they shouted “police” before opening fire.
Police said Green had ignored commands to drop his gun. A grand jury declined to indict the officers in Green’s death.