Adrienne’s son Henry Green had been shot.
Last summer, Adrienne Hood got the call every mother fears. On the other line was her sister with devastating news.
Adrienne’s son Henry Green had been shot.
She rushed straight to South Linden, where the 23-year-old had been stopped by two Columbus police officers in civilian clothes and an unmarked SUV. The confrontation—the events of which would later be heavily debated—ended in the officers shooting Henry.
By the time she arrived, the area has been roped off. Without hesitation, she ran through the crime-scene tape.
They were taking her son to Grant Medical Center, one of the officers said.
She couldn’t yet process what was happening—there wasn’t time. She had to get to the hospital, get to Henry.
On the way, she frantically called immediate family members. Her ex-husband, Henry’s father, met her at Grant.
Adrienne’s other two children arrived shortly after. When her 24-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son got to Grant, they weren’t admitted to the same area of the hospital as Adrienne.
Confused and terrified about wha
t was happening with their brother, the two started yelling and flipping tables and chairs, demanding to see him. Then the hospital staff called the police.
“So it was just this formation of police officers lined up outside,” Adrienne says. “And I’m like, ‘Why are ya’ll here, especially considering the circumstances?’ ”
Adrienne waited for about an hour before a doctor told her Henry had died.
That day, June 6, 2016, is one Adrienne wishes she could erase. But it’s also a day she often revisits in telling the painful story—to the jury, to reporters, to crowds at rallies. To anyone who will listen.
As many times as she’s told her son’s story by now, nearly a year later, she says she still hasn’t had a chance to grieve. Since that fateful day, she’s been advocating for a conviction and for better community-police relations.
“I have to keep telling it,” Adrienne says. “If I be quiet, then my son’s voice is silenced. I promised him.”
Every party involved in the events of June 6 has a different story about what happened.
Here’s what we know: Around 6:30 p.m., Green, who was black, was walking with his friend Christian Rutledge in South Linden, when white police officers Zachary Rosen and Jason Bare, wearing civilian clothes, stopped in an unmarked SUV. Henry had a gun. The autopsy concluded Henry was hit by seven bullets.
The officers say they stopped Henry because they saw his gun, and that they ordered him to put down his gun. They say he raised the gun to them. Christian Rutledge and other witnesses say the officers never identified themselves as police and gave Henry no time to react, which the officers refute.
According to Adrienne, Henry had a license for his gun. She says he was two doors away from his aunt’s, where he was staying at the time, when he was stopped. And she’s skeptical, to say the least, of the officers’ accounts of what happened.
“He was two doors from safety,” she says. “Last I checked, Ohio was an open-carry state. So ya’ll bothered my son because of what? The community that we’re in and the color of his skin. Because if he had been in Clintonville and he had been a different color, you would’ve just rolled by and probably waved and kept going on.”
The Franklin County Prosecutor’s office says Officer Rosen fired 15 shots, Officer Bare fired seven and Henry fired six. After hearing from 20 witnesses, including Adrien
ne, in March, prosecutor Ron O’Brien says there were vastly conflicting accounts on who fired first, whether the officers identified themselves as such and whether the officers shot Henry out of self-defense or for no lawful purpose.
Ultimately, the grand jury ruled the officers would not be indicted. Seven or more of the nine jury members would’ve had to agree the use of deadly force was unjustified to indict the officers, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Since O’Brien—the longest-serving prosecutor in county history—took office in 1996, no police officer has been indicted for shooting a civilian.
In April, just a couple weeks after the grand jury handed down its decision, Officer Rosen was in the news again for another violent incident in Linden, this time caught on video. He was seen stomping on the head of Demarko Anderson, as Anderson was handcuffed and lying face down at the end of a concrete driveway. The police say the incident is under investigation, and that Rosen was reassigned to a non-patrol duty.
Adrienne was born and raised in Linden, like many of her family members before her.
“My momma was a nomad, so I went to a different school around Columbus every year until I got to the sixth grade,” she says, adding she graduated from Independence High School on Refugee Road.
When she turned 18, Adrienne decided she wanted to join the U.S. Air Force. But during the entrance exam, she realized too late that she was filling in the wrong column.
She failed the test and had to wait six months until she could retake it. But soon after, she found out she was pregnant with her daughter. At the time, in 1990, a single parent couldn’t enlist without giving someone else legal guardianship, Adrienne says. So she put her plans on hold. Eighteen months after she gave birth to Skylah, Henry was born.
After marrying their father, Adrienne joined the U.S. Army in 1994. She served three years on active duty in a rapid-deployment unit stationed at Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia.
When they got divorced, Adrienne was faced with the decision between staying in a unit that’s first on the list to be deployed and required her being way from her kids often, or leaving the Army and having time to raise her children. So she chose not to continue in the Army, and her second son, Jayden, was born in 1999.
But she’d return to her military roots in 2004, when she joined the Air Force Reserve. She’s been in the Reserves since.
In 2007, Adrienne graduated from the University of Phoenix with a bachelor’s in criminal justice. She went on to earn a master’s in human service from Liberty University in 2012.
Adrienne has always valued education, hard work and dedication. As a bus driver for a decade, she took a no-nonsense approach with the kids on her route.
“Because I held my kids to a standard on my bus, they already knew, Ms. Hood is not playing with me,” she says. “They’d come on my bus, they’d show me their grade cards. I’d reward them for that. My kids on the honor roll, they wrote their name down on a list; they got big candy bars. But I set the expectation there. And the same expectations, I had in my house.”
At times, setting those expectations at home meant using tough love. Her oldest two never liked school, so keeping them focused on academics was a challenge.
“It was kind of scary there for a minute because my son just wasn’t applying himself, not that he couldn’t do it; he just wasn’t applying himself. I’m like, ‘You know we don’t do GEDs and drop-outs in this house.’”
While he wasn’t studious, Henry stayed out of trouble, Adrienne says. If the school ever called home about him, it was because he’d been goofing around, always the class clown.
“He probably really could’ve easily done standup comedy,” Adrienne says. “He was always the one coming up with jokes and all that kind of stuff. If the room is thick, he’ll be the one to break that.”
His senior year of high school, Green failed a math class, keeping him from graduating at the end of the school year. So Adrienne sent him to summer school to retake the class, and he graduated in August 2011 from Brookhaven High School, which closed in 2014.
“I just remember he was so excited that day,” Adrienne says. “He just looked so nice. I mean his guidance counselors, his teachers, you know, everybody, they were crying. They were crying because they all loved my son.”
To those close to him, he wasn’t Henry—he was Bubby.
“I saw his principal right after he got killed, and it just like … it almost floored that man,” Adrienne says. “We were at Polaris, and he was like, ‘I saw it on the news, but it never dawned on me that it was Bubby.’ They had said his name and everything, but he didn’t realize that it was Bub.”
A lot of people had similar reactions when they found out about Henry’s death, she says.
“They were like, ‘Your son? The oldest one?’ Because everyone was so used to him being like the ha-ha-ha funny guy. And so, it’s just unbelievable. It’s almost been a year, and it’s still just unbelievable,” she says with a short, sad laugh—not a genuine laugh, but the kind someone makes when holding back tears.
Henry was more than a class clown—he was also a role model for his younger brother. They bonded over their love of basketball.
“Those were some funny days. They’d be out there playing, and Bubby would just keep blocking Jayden’s shot. [Jayden] would come in the house, crying. I’m like, ‘What’s wrong?’ ‘He keep blocking my shot!’ and I was like, ‘OK, so what you gonna do about it?’ So what did he learn to do? Shoot from the outside, not drive it in. When he was in the second grade, he learned how to do a three-point shooter. From that point on, we had to start playing him up. Because otherwise he just made the other kids look so terrible,” she says with a laugh.
“But it was good for him,” Adrienne continues. “He watched out for his brother and sister, and his nephew. It took him, my grandson, a minute, you know, once he passed away. He would just scream because he’d tell them he wanted to see his Uncle Bubby. He’s gotten better. But we have pictures and everything so that he doesn’t ever forget him.”
As tough as it is to explain to her two-year-old grandson, Adrienne says she, too, struggles to understand the tragedy of what happened to her son.
“This whole situation is just so contradictory to what I taught my children, you know—if you do good and you stay out of the way, you’ll be OK,” she says. “I’ve had to prepare my sons in ways that I shouldn’t have to. You know, to just stay out of the way. And I think that my son being 23 years old and not having a record, not even having a juvenile record, that speaks volumes to my son staying out of the way.”
Though she was disappointed by the jury’s decision, Adrienne intends to exhaust all her options. She plans to request a special prosecutor.
“I’m still seeking ways for criminal charges,” she says.
Meanwhile, she also plans to continue to work with the People’s Justice Project, a local organization that advocates for prevention- and treatment-focused policies in place of incarceration of Ohio residents, particularly young individuals and people of color. Along with supporting Adrienne leading
up to and during the trial, the group is a good fit for Adrienne, who once dreamt of opening an outreach center for youth, with a focus on prevention.
“There’s a lot that needs to happen in our community,” Adrienne says. “One thing that has been taken out of our communities is education—having schools equipped with better education to give our kids more tools to be successful, to be prepared for the world. So what you have to do is start putting those tools back into our community.”
She says she also wants to see more diversity in the city’s police force to help bridge cultural divides.
“They need to hire more people that look like us,” she says.
Adrienne also works with other local advocacy organizations, as well as the families of Tyre King, Kawme Patrick and Jaron Thomas, who also died by police shootings and are represented by the same attorney as Adrienne, to organize protests and raise awareness about their cause.
“So I’ve really just been trying to get everybody to be on the same page and move all of these groups into something powerful and effective to where our city officials see that we’re not going anywhere,” Adrienne says.
Adrienne has a calm fierceness about her. When she talks about her son, you can’t help but share in her genuine pain, even having never met him. The hurt from the loss of a child can’t be healed, no matter how long it’s been.
“I mean, yeah, you learn how to continue living, but the pain just never goes away,” she says.
But her suffering doesn’t make her weak in any sense of the word. No, she wears her grief with grace and dignity, always a fighter. Fighting to keep her son’s story alive, and fighting for the strength to continue on, one day at a time, even when she faces overwhelm.
“I can always hear him say, ‘You ain’t no punk, Mom. Get up!’ That’s what he would say,” she says with a big laugh. “That’s my guy. And I do. I dry my eyes, and I’m like, ‘You’re right. Let’s go another round.’ I’m not afraid. I guess that’s why he always told me I ain’t no punk.”
Written by Emily Thompson