Grand jury declines criminal charges for Springfield officer who ran over shooting victim last year

SPRINGFIELD — A Springfield police officer who ran over a shooting victim while she was responding to his call for help will not face criminal charges following a state investigation and presentation of charges to a grand jury, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

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Eric Cole was shot in the late night hours of June 13, 2021 and died the next day at Miami Valley Hospital. While police were responding to his 911 call reporting he was shot, Cole was run-over by a Springfield police cruiser driven by Officer Amanda Rosales, Anthony Pierson, Senior Assistant Prosecuting Attorney said during the news conference.

“The grand jury determined that the incident surrounding Mr. Cole’s death was tragic, but not criminal,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said.

The case was investigated by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office as a special prosecutor in the case. The Ohio AG’s Office presented the case to a Clark County grand jury Tuesday where a “no true bill” was returned against Rosales, meaning no criminal charges were filed.

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The prosecutor’s office presented charges of reckless homicide and negligent homicide, but both charges were not pursued by the grand jury.

The Attorney General’s Office presented a new timeline into the investigation, detailing Cole’s actions before the deadly encounter. Pierson said the investigation found Cole had been in an argument with his girlfriend, went looking for her, and ended up firing shots towards two other men.

Cole was hit by gunfire that was fired back at him, where he suffered a non-life threatening wound to his arm.

While Cole was shot and was lying in the road, Cole’s cause of death determined to be blunt force trauma and was not the gunshot wound, a Montgomery County Coroner’s Office autopsy report found.

In Cole’s 911 call, he reported he was in the road and later reported he was hit by the police cruiser. Subsequent cruiser camera footage showed Cole was clearly in the roadway as Rosales looked for him. Cole’s family has contested in previous statement’s they don’t believe Rosales

The information that Cole was in the roadway was added to the police log which shows up on a computer in the cruiser. Rosales was a solo unit and was the only officer in the cruiser at the time of the response.

“Officer Rosales in her interview stated she didn’t see Mr. Cole in the road,” Pierson said.

She stated she was looking for the house numbers, and there were no mailboxes along the street, Pierson said.

“I am particularly concerned about the information that was conveyed to the dispatcher that was not conveyed to the responding officer. And there may well be additional proceedings in civil court. But as of right now, there are no criminal charges in this tragic case,” Yost said.

Family members have claimed Springfield police and other investigators have covered-up the case and tried to protect Rosales.

“It is what it is from day one, she seen him, in downtown, from the start, she seen him and they are covering up for her,” Cole’s sister Tonny Walker.

Both Pierson, and later in a separate news conference Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf, denied the possibility of a cover-up.

“I was not able to find any evidence of a cover-up nor was I able to find evidence that there would have been a different outcome for Mr. Cole,” Pierson said.

Following the Ohio AG’s press conference, Springfield City Manager Bryan Heck issued this statement:

“Yesterday, the Ohio Attorney General’s office presented evidence to a Clark County grand jury regarding the death of Eric Cole last year. After a review of the case, the grand jury endorsed a no bill, therefore handing down no indictments,” Heck said.

“We respect the grand jury’s finding and hope that Tuesday’s proceeding will lead our community further along in the healing process. The Springfield Police Division will integrate the Ohio Attorney General’s investigative findings into its own internal probe, which has been ongoing since the accident last year.”

“Mr. Cole’s family remains in our thoughts and prayers, and we call on the community to respect their privacy in the wake of Tuesday’s grand jury conclusion. The City of Springfield remains committed to the safety of everyone in our community, as we aspire to provide the highest standard of service to the public at all times.”

This is a developing story and we’ll continue to update this page as we learn more.