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Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Over Death Of Henry Green

The families of Henry Green and Tyre King demanded independent investigations in both fatal shooting cases.
Esther Honig
The families of Henry Green and Tyre King demanded independent investigations in both fatal shooting cases.

A federal judge has dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit against Columbus Police officers over the 2016 shooting of Henry Green by undercover officers.

Columbus Police say 23-year-old Green, who was black, ignored commands by two white officers to drop his gun. Officers Zachary Rosen and Jason Bare were wearing plainclothes in an undercover car as part of the city's Summer Safety Initiative.

Court documents and depositions say Green shot at the officers, who then returned fire and killed him.

Green's family and a friend walking with him say police didn't identify themselves.

A grand jury in March 2017 declined to indict the officers, saying the use of deadly force was reasonable. An internal Columbus police investigation cleared them. But the shooting led to criticism of Columbus' use of undercover officers in high-crime areas, a practice the division recently curtailed.

That June, Green’s family filed a federal lawsuit against the two officers and the city alleging wrongful death and civil rights violations.

Federal Judge George Smith said Thursday it was reasonable to use deadly force under the circumstances faced by the officers.

"The Columbus Division of Police became aware this afternoon of today’s federal court ruling regarding Mr. Henry Green," said spokesman James Fuqua in a statment. "While his loss of life is unfortunate, we continue to find ways to better strengthen the relationship with those affected by this tragedy and the community as a whole."

One of the officers involved in Green's death, Zachary Rosen, was fired by the city in July 2017 for using “unreasonable force” when he kicked a restrained suspect in the head. However, after arbitration with the police union, Rosen was reinstated in March 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.