After reviewing the video of an Ohio police officer stomping on the head of a handcuffed man lying on the ground, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs recommended a 24-hour suspension for Officer Zachary Rosen due to his blatant use of excessive force. Despite the fact that Rosen kicked a detained suspect who was not resisting, several of his supervisors determined that Rosen acted within department policy.
On April 8, a bystander recorded a cellphone video of Demarko Anderson, 26, lying on his stomach in a residential driveway while Officer Darren Stephens cuffed his hands behind his back. Without provocation, Officer Rosen suddenly ran towards Anderson and stomped his head against the concrete pavement.
“Oh my God!” Anderson exclaimed immediately after being kicked. “Are you serious? I’ve got cuffs on, sir.”
Instead of explaining his actions to Anderson, Rosen later told investigators that he had stomped on the suspect’s left shoulder to prevent him from escaping. Rosen neglected to mention kicking Anderson’s head against the pavement for no justifiable reason.
According to the police report, officers responded to a call concerning a man with a gun when Officer Stephens confronted Anderson. In an attempt to flee, Anderson allegedly elbowed Stephens in the face before the officer detained him in the driveway. Anderson was later charged with improperly discharging a gun into a residence, carrying a concealed weapon, obstructing official business, and aggravated menacing.
Although several supervisors concluded that Rosen did not violate department policy in his use of force, Deputy Chief Thomas Quinlan reviewed the video and reported, “Officer Rosen’s intent notwithstanding, he did actually strike Mr. Anderson in the face while handcuffed. I do not find Officer Rosen’s use of force reasonable, meaning it was not proper, appropriate, rational and ordinary or usual in the circumstances.”
On June 14, Chief Jacobs sent a memo to Public Safety Director Ned Pettus, recommending a 24-hour suspension for Rosen due to his actions. On Wednesday, Jacobs’ memo was released to the public.
“While the Chief of Police has made a recommendation for discipline in the use of force case involving Officer Rosen, the Director of Public Safety will make the final decision under the current FOP contract,” stated Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther. “I have every expectation the Public Safety Director will discipline Officer Rosen in a manner that holds him accountable for his actions, and I expect the final decision to be made as quickly as possible.”
“Twenty-four hours is an absolute joke,” Amber Evans, organizer for the People’s Justice Project, told The Columbus Dispatch in a recent interview. “I think it’s a major slap in the face for the black community, and for the mothers that have lost their family members to police violence, and for the young man who was kicked in his head by Rosen.”
Joining the department in December 2010, Rosen reportedly drew his gun on an unarmed man and kicked him in the midsection during an October 2015 incident. In June 2016, Rosen and another officer had been working undercover when they fatally shot 23-year-old Henry Green.
Currently, no criminal charges have been filed against Rosen.