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Mistrial Declared After Hung Jury In Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Two Columbus Police Officers

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

A federal judge has declared a mistrial in the lawsuit filed against two Columbus police officers who fatally shot a Black man in 2016.

The mistrial came after the jury was deadlocked and couldn't reach a verdict in the wrongful death lawsuit against Columbus Police officers Zachary Rosen and Jason Bare, over the fatal shooting of Henry Green.

Rosen and Bare, both in plainclothes, jumped from an unmarked vehicle to confront Green, who they said brandished a gun. According to court documents, the officers said Green shot at them, and they told him to drop the weapon before they returned fire and killed him. Green's family and a friend walking with him contend that Rosen and Bare didn't identify themselves as police.

The family of Henery Green sued Columbus police officers Zachary Rosen and Jason Bare. The officers were wearing plain clothes when they shot Green on a street corner.

In September 2020, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals denied qualified immunity for the two police officers and re-opened the door for a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Green's family. That ruling sent the case back to the district court level. A judge there previously dismissed the case against the officers, as well as the city and police officials.

In March 2017, a grand jury declined to indict the officers, saying the use of deadly force was reasonable, and they were cleared by an internal Columbus Police investigation. Green's family filed a federal lawsuit in June 2017 against Rosen, Bare and the city alleging wrongful death and civil rights violations.

While the Sixth Circuit's three-member panel agreed the case against the city and police higher-ups should be dismissed, the judges did not believe the officers should be granted qualified immunity. That protection, which has come under intense scrutiny in 2020 amid protests over police violence, often shields officers from the legal ramifications of conduct carried out in the course of their official duties.

The appeals court determined that Rosen and Bare should not be granted immunity for the shots they fired at Green when he was no longer a threat.