A police officer in Springfield, Ohio has been placed on paid administrative leave after dash camera footage showed her patrol cruiser running over a Black shooting victim who was calling 911 for help. The man died shortly afterwards.
Officer Amanda Rosales was responding to the 911 call from Eric Cole, who called at 11:15 pm to say that he had been shot. "I'm in the middle of the street," Cole told the dispatcher. "I'm about to die."
Cole remained on the phone with dispatchers as Rosales responded to the shooting. He told the dispatchers when he was hit with the patrol cruiser.
"They just hit me," Cole said.
"Who hit you?" the dispatcher asked Cole.
"The police," he said.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Police Chief Lee Graf identified Rosales as the officer who hit Cole.
"This was an accident. It doesn't mean it's OK. It was an accident. This was not an intentional act on the part of the officer. I am sure of that," Graf said in the press conference. "From what we are initially piecing together, remember this is all under investigation, the lead officer was trying to catch the addresses on the house. Eric was lying in the street as you can see from the videos — and the officer did not see him."
Cole's autopsy revealed abrasions to his back and lower chest, lacerations to his left shoulder and back, and internal bleeding. His sternum and multiple left ribs were fractured, and there was blunt force trauma to his arms, knees and legs, according to CBS affiliate WHIO. The cause and manner of his death were listed as pending.
Cole's family attended the Springfield police press conference.
"We thinking the gun people that shot him ran him over — but the Springfield Police Department ran him over. So yes, we're upset. You know what I mean? We're all upset," Cole's cousin said.
The Springfield chapter of the NAACP said it would be involved with the police department's investigation into the events.
"We will make sure of transparency. That's part of our job. We will have every piece of paper with the information on it. That's our job. We're gonna stay in it with you mom, until the end," said Denise Williams, President, Springfield NAACP.