Court Revives Civil Suit Against Ohio Cops Over Fatal Shooting of Black Man

September 10, 2020

A federal appeals court reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit against two police officers in Ohio’s capital city over the 2016 shooting of a Black man by undercover officers.

In a ruling issued Sept. 8, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found officers Zachary Rosen and Jason Bare were not immune from civil liability because they continued firing shots after Henry Green was no longer a threat. The ruling found a jury could “reasonably conclude” that the officers’ use of force in this context was unreasonable.

Columbus police have said the 23-year-old Green, who was Black, ignored commands to drop his gun by Rosen and Bare, who are white. Court documents and depositions say Green shot at officers, who then returned fire. Green’s family has argued Green fired after police shot at him.

A grand jury declined to indict the officers, and an internal Columbus police investigation cleared them.

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in September 2019, finding it was reasonable to use deadly force under the circumstances. The appeals court ruling affirmed summary judgments in favor of Columbus, its former police chief and two other officers named in the suit, but remanded the case against Rosen and Bare back to the lower federal court for further consideration.

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said his office was reviewing the decision and hasn’t decided whether it will seek a review of the case by the full appeals court.

One member of the appeals panel, Judge Ralph Guy Jr., dissented in part to the ruling, writing that he would affirm the lower court’s finding. Noting the exchange of gunfire occurred in a matter of seconds, Guy said he could not agree the two officers had time “to stop and reassess the threat level” before the last shots were fired.

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Latest Comments

  • September 10, 2020 at 1:42 pm
    slapshotpuc says:
    It is perfectly correct legally for the courts to give this case a second look at skin color as the deciding factors. Statistics fully support the facts that if the perp had b... read more
  • September 10, 2020 at 1:12 pm
    craig cornell says:
    Actually, the evidence is exactly counter to what you just said. Black men are NOT killed at a rate higher than other races when adjusted for the number of crimes committed. I... read more
  • September 10, 2020 at 1:08 pm
    Jon says:
    Yeah, it's only okay for him to hold a gun around the police if he's white, even if he's just murdered two people then it's fine, but how dare he be black and exercise his 2nd... read more
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