Review: Ohio cop used 'unreasonable' force in apparent kick
The Columbus Division of Police announced the finding in the case of an April 8 arrest
By Andrew Welsh-Huggins
COLUMBUS, Ohio — An officer used "unreasonable" force that wasn't part of his training when subduing a restrained suspect in a way that appeared to show him kicking the suspect in the head, police in Ohio said Wednesday.
The Columbus Division of Police announced the finding in the case of an April 8 arrest that 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.
A video taken that day 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 Zachary Rosen, reported his action under standard police procedure for when force is used.
"Are you serious, I've got cuffs on sir," suspect Demarko Anderson is heard on the video, according to a review of the incident by Columbus Deputy Chief Thomas Quinlan released Wednesday.
"This statement was recorded contemporaneously with the video capturing Mr. Anderson's head, raised high in the air, smashing into the pavement, and bouncing back up high in the air as the officer used force, indicative of a strike to the head," Quinlan's review said.
In the review, obtained by The Associated Press through a records request, Quinlan also questions officer Zachary Rosen's justification of using force because he believed Anderson was still armed.
Fear made no sense given that Anderson wasn't searched for several minutes after the kick, the review said.
Rosen also continued to use profanity long after it could be considered acceptable, indicating he was "operating off adrenalin." Rosen "continues to engage Mr. Anderson potentially escalating the situation, not de-escalating the situation," the review said.
"The strike/stomp was an untrained technique and was found to be unreasonable," police said in a statement.
The case goes next to a police discipline committee.
Jason Pappas, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter representing Rosen, said Rosen was justified because of the circumstances that day, including the shots fired and the assault on the other officer.
"Based on the totality of the circumstances, this would have been a justified deadly use of force situation," Pappas said. "However, the officers used less force than allowed, showing restraint in their actions."
Pappas also noted that a sergeant, lieutenant and commander all cleared Rosen before the deputy chief's finding.
Police Chief Kim Jacobs said last month she was fast-tracking the investigation. That included a review of the citizen-generated video, along with cruiser dashcam video and statements from witnesses and other officers.
Anderson, 22, has pleaded not guilty to charges including improper handling of a firearm and aggravated menacing. A message was left with his attorney seeking comment on the police announcement about the use of force.
Police also have confirmed that Rosen was one of two plainclothes officers who fatally shot a man in the city last year.
Rosen and the other officer told investigators they shot 23-year-old Henry Green in June 2016 after he fired on them and that they feared for their lives, according to records released last month. The two also said in written statements that they shouted, "Police!" before opening fire.
Rosen was awarded a departmental medal of valor for helping rescue a man in 2012 while dodging downed powerlines, according to his personnel file. The man, trapped in his vehicle, had suffered a severed foot after his car hit a utility pole during a thunderstorm.