City Of Columbus Fires Officer Zachary Rosen

Jul 10, 2017

The City of Columbus has fired Columbus Police officer Zachary Rosen, according to the local branch of the Fraternal Order of Police. 

In June, Chief Kim Jacobs recommended a 3-day suspension for Rosen, who had been found using "unreasonable" force when he kicked an unarmed, restrained suspect in the head. Columbus Police said the kicking was an "untrained technique" in violation of the division's Use of Force Directive.

After Jacobs' recommendation, Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus had the authority to follow that decision, impose his own, or determine that no discipline was warranted. Pettus opted for the most severe. 

After the April incident, Mayor Andrew Ginther said the behavior was "unacceptable and inconsistent with our values as a community. It erodes the trust the residents of this city place in law enforcement."

In a statement Monday afternoon, FOP Lodge 9 president Jason Pappas said that Ginther's comments about the case "made it impossible for Officer Rosen to be treated fairly based upon the actual facts and circumstances of his case."

Pappas said FOP Lodge 9 plans to file for arbitration Tuesday and begin appealing Rosen's firing immediately. 

"Everybody I've spoken to understands that this was a political decision," Pappas said. "Everyone I've spoken to will tell you that they anticipate Zach Rosen being re-employed by the city in the next few months."

The Columbus City Council released a statement saying they accept the Public Safety Director's decision.

"When any officer acts in a manner that violates the values, expectations and policies of our police division, it creates distrust between the community and the officers who are sworn to protect us," the statement reads in part. "In fact, these actions make policing and the jobs of our officers more difficult and dangerous." 

Ginther also released a statement, saying he agrees with Pettus.

"I fully support the decision made by Director Pettus and am grateful for his thorough and thoughtful consideration. I am also grateful to the community and to the Columbus Division of Police for their patience."

Police say the suspect, DeMarco Anderson, was found to be carrying crack and a gun, and was thought to have fired shots into a house that same day. As captured in a cell phone video, another Columbus officer was handcuffing the man when Rosen arrives and kicks him in the head.

Rosen self-reported the incident, and four lower-ranking police supervisors said they believed his actions were within policy. Jacobs overrode those decisions in recommending discipline.

According to the Associated Press, the family of Anderson says it's pleased Rosen has been fired but it wants "more investigation into his prior acts."

The family says if the Columbus police department can't be counted on to properly investigate and discipline a "reckless" and "unfit" officer, that calls into question the entire disciplinary history of the department. They want to know what Ginther will do to ensure all officers are held accountable for excessive use of force.

Activists have long called for Rosen's firing, even before the kicking incident. While undercover as part of the Summer Safety Initiative, Rosen and a fellow officer shot and killed Henry Green. A grand jury declined to indict either officer for the shooting, resulting in protests around the city.