The issue of brutality in the American police establishment has again surfaced as a result of a video currently being circulated online. Recorded in Columbus, Ohio, the video shows a police officer stomping on an African-American man who is lying facedown on the pavement. Seconds later, another officer is seen kneeling on the still-restrained man. Pending a review of the case, the Columbus Police Department has removed from patrol duties the officer, the same one who had been investigated for his role in a fatal shooting last year.
The most recent incident involved 22-year-old Demarco Anderson, who was initially stopped by police after allegedly threatening to shoot the occupants of a house in the North Linden section of Columbus. According to the police, Anderson assaulted one officer and ran away before he could be questioned. The controversy surrounding his subsequent arrest centers around a video that lasts about two minutes and begins with Anderson lying on a residential street, partially in a driveway.
Though restrained and not appearing to move in any significant manner, Anderson is suddenly stomped on by another officer who enters the frame. The officer responsible for the stomping was identified as Zachery Rosen, whose action occurs simultaneously with the appearance of a police car in the background. Soon thereafter, two more officers appear in the scene and surround Anderson. One of the other officers is then seen to kneel on Anderson’s neck for some 40 seconds until the arrestee is finally taken away. At no point during the video is Anderson seen to physically resist any of the officers on the scene.
In a statement released to the media, the police department stated that the actions of “one of our officers” violated its established standards. The statement did not address the actions of the other officers involved, including the one seen kneeling on Anderson.
Only weeks before the incident, Rosen was cleared for his involvement in the shooting death of Henry Green, another African-American man of almost the same age as Anderson. The victim in that case was killed after reportedly being ordered by Rosen and a second officer to drop a pistol that police said he was holding. According to some witnesses, the two plainclothes officers opened fire before properly identifying themselves. However, a grand jury failed to indict either Rosen or the other officer on criminal charges.