Columbus Police Officer Zachary Rosen was fired over the summer after video footage showed him stomping on a suspect. Now he haws been reinstated.
At the time of the incident Rosen approached the scene where DeMarco Anderson was already restrained and handcuffed on the ground. Anderson, the suspect in a shooting, reportedly elbowed an officer during an attempted arrest and attempted to flee the scene. But by the time Rosen got to Anderson, he was laying on the ground, restrained, at the end of a concrete driveway. Depsite this, Rosen ran over and stomped on Anderson’s head.
Throughout the video Anderson is heard asking, “Why are you being aggressive?” and at one point says, “Are you serious? I got cuffs on, sir.”
Drugs and a weapon were later discovered in Anderson’s backpack. But Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus determined that Rosen’s use of force was still excessive and fired Rosen.
Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs had called for a suspension, not a firing, and the Fraternal Order of Police supported Rosen from the start.
Jason Pappas, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9, said in a statement, “This union will not tolerate their brothers and sisters being used as political pawns or scapegoats for the benefit of the administration.”
The Fraternal Order of Police appealed the firing, and this month arbitrator Mitchell Goldberg agreed. Goldberg acknowledged that Rosen did use excessive force but does not believe Rosen meant to injure the suspect.
Pappas said at the time of Rosen’s firing: “Everyone knows that he’s going to get his job back.”
According to a Washington Post analysis, a little under a quarter of police officers who were fired for misconduct, “from cheating on overtime to unjustified shootings,” were reinstated.
“Most of the officers regained their jobs when police chiefs were overruled by arbitrators, typically lawyers hired to review the process. In many cases, the underlying misconduct was undisputed, but arbitrators often concluded that the firings were unjustified because departments had been too harsh, missed deadlines, lacked sufficient evidence or failed to interview witnesses,” the Post reported.
In Rosen’s case, this was not his first brush with violence on the job. In 2016 he was dressed in plain clothes along with another officer. The two men approached Henry Green, who was carrying a gun, and ordered him to drop his weapon. All three men fired shots. Green was shot seven times, according to an autopsy, and succumbed from a gunshot wound to the chest. Rosen fired his weapon 15 times.
Rosen and the other officer, Jason Barre, initially said they identified themselves as police officers when they approached Green. But they later backtracked and said they could not recall if they did. A grand jury ruled that the use of force was justified in this case and the officers were not indicted.