A Columbus police officer who is seen on video stomping on the head of a restrained suspect Saturday morning on Weldon Avenue has been reassigned from patrol duty pending an investigation.
The video, posted Sunday on YouTube by Roeisha Pettiford, shows one officer restraining the suspect, who is handcuffed and lying face-down on a concrete driveway. A second officer, identified by the Columbus Police Division on Monday night as Officer Zachary Rosen, enters the frame, stomps on the suspect’s head with his left foot and kneels on him as other officers arrive. The incident occurred just before 7 a.m. Saturday.
Rosen also was one of two plainclothes police officers who fatally shot Henry Green on June 6 in South Linden. Green’s shooting led critics to question the tactics of some plainclothes officers who patrol high-crime areas.
A grand jury decided not to indict Rosen and Officer Jason Bare on criminal charges, but the city’s Firearms Review Board is still reviewing the case.
Demarko D. Anderson, 26, of the Near East Side, was identified as the suspect by Columbus police spokeswoman Denise Alex-Bouzounis and Franklin County Municipal Court records.
In a statement on the kick to Anderson’s head, Alex-Bouzounis said: “Officer Zachary Rosen is under investigation for his actions that took place involving a suspect under arrest. … Officer Rosen has been reassigned to a non-patrol duty indefinitely.”
Rosen “self-reported a kick to the suspect while the suspect was in custody,” according to an earlier statement Monday before police identified the officer.
“The action taken by one of our officers does not meet the standards by the Columbus Division of Police. It appears to be inconsistent with the values and training we instill in our officers,” police said in the earlier statement.
Records say the incident Saturday morning started as a report of a discharged firearm in the area of Maize Road and Weldon Avenue. Officer Darren Stephens watched Anderson walking away from a Maize Road residence and tried to handcuff him. But Anderson pulled away, elbowed the officer in the face and ran south.
Stephens, whose lower lip was cut, chased and caught Anderson in the 800 block of Weldon Avenue, records say.
“Officers determined Mr. Anderson had just shot an occupied house,” records say. Police recovered a 9mm Taurus handgun and about 10 grams of suspected crack cocaine from Anderson’s pockets.
Anderson was on probation for a 2014 conviction for felony drug possession. He appeared Monday in Franklin County Municipal Court on felony charges of possessing a weapon under disability and possession of controlled substances and was ordered held without bond in the Franklin County jail. He entered not-guilty pleas to four other misdemeanor charges.
Two of the misdemeanors — resisting arrest by causing physical harm to a law enforcement officer and obstruction of official business — involve Anderson’s confrontation with Stephens.
Two misdemeanor charges of aggravated menacing involve an incident about 6:50 a.m. in which a man confronted Anderson about breaking a vehicle’s rear window, court records state. Anderson is accused of pulling up his shirt, revealing a handgun tucked in his pants and threatening to shoot him, records show.
Jason Pappas, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9, said he has watched the video. “These actions happen quickly and it’s hard to discern all of the different actions that have occurred,” he said.
Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, in a statement released late Monday night, said: “I was disturbed and upset when I saw the video taken on Saturday. The behavior we saw in the video was unacceptable and inconsistent with our values as a community. It erodes the trust the residents of this city place in law enforcement.”
Ginther applauded Police Chief Kim Jacobs for taking Rosen off patrol duty indefinitely and investigating the matter. “We must remain vigilant in being transparent and accountable in order to earn and keep the trust of the public,” he said.