Henry Green

Monday, June 6th, 2016 proved to be the start of a very long hot summer for the residents that live in the part of Columbus that the Columbus Police Department (CPD) have deemed “Hot Zone” areas. It also proved to be the day that another young Black man was killed by police officers “in the line of duty.”

Twenty-three-year-old Henry Green V, was shot to death by plainclothes police officers Jason Bare and Zachary Rosen. The officers were driving their unmarked car in a “Hot Zone” area. These officers were working under the guise of the city’s new Summer Safety Initiative program.  A program initiated by our new mayor, Andrew Ginther, to help decrease violence in areas that the police say have the “highest crime rate” in the city.  

There have been many versions reported of what happened to Green. His family members say he had a license to carry a concealed gun. At a community meeting held June 13that the Bethel AME Church on Cleveland Avenue, the police told residents that Green did not have a license to carry a gun. Christian Rutledge, who was with Green when he was “targeted” by the CPD said “he didn’t realize the armed men were police officers” until after Green was shot and handcuffed on the ground. It was reported that another person told someone that his mother had witnessed the police shooting Green after he was handcuffed and on the ground.

The family, church leaders, NAACP and other community organizations have requested that an outside investigation take place in regards to what really happened to Green. There have been marches demanding justice for Green and an investigation. At the June 13thmeeting, the police admitted that in 26 years there has not been one police officer that was found guilty when an inside internal review and investigation was completed, nor with an independent reviewer. This reporter asked “So the police officer is always right, correct?” and of course I didn’t get the true answer, which is in my opinion a resounding “YES” according to the current justice system.

If this is a preview of what type of “protection” the residents of the city of Columbus can expect from the mayors’ new Summer Safety Initiative program, then parents beware because the plainclothes officers that are patrolling your neighborhood in the “Hot Spot” areas are there not only to stop the violence but to contribute to the violence of killing others themselves. The weatherman has warned us that this summer will be a record breaker with heat. The police department has warned us that there are “Hot Spots” that they have targeted and will be “driving unmarked SUVs” with, according to a witness at the scene of the crime when Green was shot, “heavily tinted windows” throughout these areas.

These plainclothes police officers are armed and dangerous. It seems that the CPD may have decided that if other cities can get away with openly ambushing Black men on the streets and killing them without punishment, then why not them? Why not put the fear of death into the minds of the young Black men that will be “roaming” the city of Columbus this summer? Is Green the warning?  Has the climate in Columbus changed for the Black man now that there’s been a change of the guard?

There have been so many versions of Green’s death. The two questions that stands out in my mind is that if there were so many witnesses, why didn’t anyone pull out their cell phone and tape the incident? From their window, on the street, in their car? It happened at 6:10 PM when there was plenty of light. When will the CPD, including the plainclothes officers, start wearing body cams so that the public and department can see for themselves what happened to peoplelike Green and all the other Greens that are sure to follow if the people of Columbus don’t demand an explanation, an outside investigation of this incident, that body cams be worn by all officers who carry guns and that the new Summer Safety Initiative program be revamped or disbanded.

What happened to Henry Green? The Summer Safety Initiative program killed him.


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