24-hour suspension proposed in Ohio cop head-kick case

Andrew Welsh-huggins
Associated Press

Columbus, Ohio — A Columbus police officer who subdued a restrained suspect in a way that appeared to show him kicking the suspect in the head should serve a 24-hour suspension, according to a recommendation by the city police chief.

The proposed discipline by Columbus police chief Kim Jacobs against officer Zachary Rosen was made public Wednesday. The 24-hour suspension would amount to three shifts.

The city’s Public Safety director can follow the recommendation, impose his own or determine no discipline is warranted.

A video taken April 8 shows a Columbus officer restraining a prone man and preparing to handcuff him when a second officer arrives and appears to kick him in the head.

Police have said the second officer, identified as Rosen, reported his action under standard police procedure for when force is used.

Jacobs based her recommendation on a report by a deputy police chief last month. “The strike/stomp was an untrained technique and was found to be unreasonable,” police said in a statement then.

A police union official criticized Jacobs’ recommendation and said no discipline is required.

A sergeant, lieutenant and commander all cleared Rosen before the deputy chief found fault with the officer, Jason Pappas, head of the Fraternal Order of Police chapter that represents Rosen, said Wednesday.

The chief’s recommendation should not have been released until the Public Safety director announced his decision, Pappas added.

The arrest of suspect Demarko Anderson on April 8 followed an investigation into reports of a man with a gun who had threatened to shoot up a house and everyone inside. Police said shots were fired during the confrontation and an officer was elbowed.

Anderson has pleaded not guilty to charges including improper handling of a firearm and aggravated menacing.

Anderson was a victim of a crime because of Rosen’s actions and the officer should be fired, said Sean Walton, an attorney representing Anderson.

“Kids in school who are suspended or expelled are getting similar or worse punishment,” said Walton, who called the chief’s recommendation “laughable.”