Columbus, Ohio – A grand jury decided that the actions of Officer Jason Bare and Officer Zachary Rosen were reasonable in the shooting death of Henry Green in a secret process that is replicated across the nation. According to witnesses, on June 6, 2016, between 6:00 pm and 6:30 pm, the plain clothes officers rolled up suddenly on Green in an unmarked vehicle with out-of-state plates and tinted windows without identifying themselves. Along with his friend, he was walking to his aunt’s house – just 2 doors away from the shooting. According to Republican prosecutor Ron O’Brien, the grand jury heard from 20 witnesses with varying accounts of what transpired.

The friend that was with Henry Green said that he was not aware that the shooters were police officers until they handcuffed the victim after shooting him 7 times. It would stand to reason that they feared for their lives from the moment that the SUV approached them. Officers Bare and Rosen fired multiple rounds and several homes were also hit. Police claim that they approached the victim, because he was “brandishing a weapon.” Keep in mind that Ohio is an open carry state. Just as in the case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, these officers put everyone in the area in harm’s way with “officer-created jeopardy.” Not only did they kill a man who was not committing a crime and had no criminal record, they had no regard for other residents and children that were on the scene as they shot up the neighborhood.


The local community is more than wary of a police department and policies that leave police to “police” themselves. And just this week, Chief Kim Jacobs held a press conference to inform the public that they had “inadvertently” purged 100,000 cruiser videos, with no mention of a backup. This calls competence into question.

At a time when progressives across the nation have spoken out against racism and issues that disproportionately affect communities of color, it often does not manifest into action. Democratic city leaders, including Mayor Ginther and city council members, failed to stand up in support of the family’s requests for an independent investigation and prosecutor. Four of the seven city council members are black and 3 of the 4 are up for re-election. Recent decisions made by the city will adversely affect people of color, including the expansion of the Summer Safety Initiative (A.K.A.”Jump Out Boys”) that killed Henry Green to a year-round program. There are leaders on the horizon, like city council candidate, Jasmine Ayres, who have spoken out against injustice.

Approximately 13 local community activist groups were represented this week at protests outside of the courthouse. The family and activists vow to continue the fight for justice. As in many other cities, no officer has ever been indicted and convicted of a police involved shooting in Columbus, Ohio.

In addition to the case of Henry Green, there are several other pending cases of excessive force by police that resulted in death; most recently 13-year-old Tyre King, shot by police, and 36-year-old Jaron Thomas who suffered inexplicable injuries, dying after a week-long coma. These victims’ families are being represented by Walton + Brown, LLP.

 

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