Mother Of Henry Green Supports License Requirements For Ohio Police Officers

Jun 19, 2020

Adrienne Hood's son Henry Green died in 2016 when two plainclothes Columbus Police officers shot him in a South Linden neighborhood.

Four years after Green's killing, Hood has mixed feelings about the police reforms being proposed by Gov. Mike DeWine and other local leaders.

“We don’t know what the details are to any of these reforms that have been presented here in the last few days,” Hood says.

Proposals around the use of police force and the training of officers have gained ground among Ohio leaders. Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announced this week that the city will join a national campaign called #8CantWait, and make changes to reduce police use of force and improve incident reporting.

The campaign calls for several criteria, including banning chokeholds, requiring a warning be given before officers shoot at a suspect, de-escalating conflicts, and requiring officers to take action after witnessing other officers violate conduct.

Gov. Mike DeWine has proposed his own set of reforms, including licensing police officers, adding more training and requirements, and mandating outside investigations when an officer is involved in a death or an incident that causes serious harm.

Hood says the licensing of officers could prove beneficial if the records are tracked in a central database to monitor where they move.

“If they are found to be negligent of in any police department, they cannot go to another police department and then get employed,” Hood says.

Hood would also like to see officers get drug tested.

“We need to have a policy in there, honestly, to have officers be drug tested when they are involved in fatal shootings or shootings at all, or excessive force cases where they have caused serious harm,” she says.

Protests erupted in June 2016 after the fatal police shooting of Henry Green.
Credit Esther Honig / WOSU

In June 2016, Columbus Police said that officers shot the 23-year-old Green after they saw him with a gun, and he refused their orders to drop it. The officers were dressed in plain clothes in an undercover car as part of Columbus' since-disbanded Summer Safety Initiative.

Green's family and a friend walking with him say the officers didn't identify themselves.

Despite calls for an independent investigation, the case was handled by Franklin County prosecutor Ron O'Brien. A grand jury declined to indict the two white officers involved, saying that the use of force was reasonable. One of the officers, Zachary Rosen, was later fired from Columbus Police for using "unreasonable force" in a separate incident, but got reinstated after abitration with the police union.

Last year, a federal judge dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Green's family.

Hood says the protests surrounding the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis have given her renewed optimism.

“I think that George Floyd’s death has awakened not just the black community, but it has awakened all other communities as well,” Hood says.

Hood says other parents who've lost a loved one to law enforcement still believe in positive change.

“We are all very hopeful,” Hood says. “All of the moms and dads that I’ve spoken to. At first there’s this piece that all of us are like, what took so long, but at the same time, we are hopeful that there will be some sincere changes that take place not only in Columbus, but all over Ohio.”