Adrienne Hood stood before a crowded park amphitheater on an 80-degree day in Ohio. Officers from the Columbus Division of Police had recently shot and killed her son, Henry Green V — a 23-year-old who left behind a big, loving family and long-term girlfriend. Her attorney, Sean Walton, recounted the details of the questionable shooting. Hood shook her head slowly and angrily at the ground as he spoke.
At dusk on June 6, 2016, one month prior, the community of South Linden had been busy with family activity when Officers Jason Bare and Zachary Rosen — dressed in plainclothes and driving an unmarked SUV — saw Henry, called "Bub" by his family, and his friend Christian Rutledge. One block away from a school, Bub and Christian were on foot and approaching the house where a neighbor lived with his young daughter. The unmarked car circled the block.
According to CPD, Bub was holding a gun that he refused to drop when ordered.
According to Sean Walton, multiple witnesses overlooked or ignored by CPD said they did not see him holding a gun and that Bare and Rosen failed to identify themselves as police before they approached and opened rounds. Bub was shot seven times. It wasn't until his dying friend was in handcuffs on the sidewalk that Christian Rutledge recognized the men as officers.
In September, Officer Bryan Mason shot and killed 13-year-old Ty'Re King, sparking further questions about CPD brutality. Bare and Rosen were operating as surveillance for the Community Safety Initiative (formerly known as the Summer Safety Initiative, among other names), a mayor-endorsed program that increases officer presence in "vulnerable" neighborhoods throughout summer months — areas already overpoliced, residents say. The Department of Justice in 1999 found that the department had violated the civil rights of black people, and CPD fought the claims with help from the city and the wealthy police union.
When it was Hood's turn to describe her son, she locked eyes with the crowd. "My son was the fifth — Henry Lewis Green V. Lifeline, bloodline, cut off. For what?" she asked.
During the rallies, marches, and press conferences that have followed, Hood has denounced CPD tactics and the "safety" program, contested the narrative put forth by police about the June 6 shooting, and questioned the close relationship between CPD and the prosecutor's office — which will present a case against the officers involved before a grand jury.
Since last summer, Hood has allowed me to trail her family and serve as witness to a wretched process. She has walked into police headquarters, helped disrupt a city-council meeting, contacted legislators and activists, and tenaciously researched state and federal laws. The community sees her as a beacon of strength and a justice warrior for her family, Columbus, and all affected by police violence.
For Lenny, Hood explained how she — a twenty-year member of the U.S. military — became a revolutionary mother of the movement.
Alli Maloney: Two plainclothes officers shot Bub. According to CPD, what was Henry doing on that day?
Adrienne Hood: Standing on a corner, brandishing a gun. They approached, said who they were, and instead of him putting down his gun, he fired at them. So they fired back. That's what they put out there.
AM: Within hours, statements released named officers Bare and Rosen as "victims" and Bub as the suspect.
AH: People take what the media says and they run with it. I was guilty of that before I was in this situation. You hear Linden, you think drug dealers, gangbangers. The "standing on the corner" narrative — if you're not from Linden, you're automatically going to go, "Oh, well the only people that stand on a corner are drug dealers or gang members." But he was never standing just on a corner. He was walking across the street when they came flying down it. The narrative that [CPD] put out there was to put their officers as the victims — period, point blank.