Documents released from state investigation of Aura Rosser shooting

By Emma Kerr, Daily News Editor
Published February 10, 2015

The Washtenaw Prosecutor’s Office released several documents Monday related to the fatal shooting of Aura Rosser by an Ann Arbor police officer.

Following an investigation by the Michigan State Police, Prosecutor David Mackie determined last month that Ann Arbor Police Officer David Ried’s shooting of Rosser, a 40-year-old Black woman from Ann Arbor, constituted lawful self defense.

The initial incident report said officers were dispatched to Rosser’s home following a 911 call made by her ex-boyfriend. When officers arrived, Rosser was holding a kitchen knife and was threatening officers with the knife and moving toward them. The knife appeared to be six to eight inches long, according to the report.

In the documents, which included the autopsy report, lab reports and crime scene reports, Ried provided a statement describing the events on the night of the shooting.

“Rosser had the knife in her right hand had the blade now facing us, it was up in a ready to strike position with her elbow bent and arm raised with the blade about level with her jawline,” Ried said.

After Reid said he ordered Rosser several times to put down her knife, she proceeded to move toward the officers, the original incident report said.

“Rosser was still ignoring my commands drop the knife. I feared my life and the life of Officer Raab. I believed we were in imminent danger. I was in fear for the safety for myself and Officer Raab, so I discharged my firearm one time (to) stop the threat.”

According to the other officer present at the scene, Mark Raab, Rosser’s eyes were widened and she appeared “deranged.” He fired his Taser at Rosser, and said this occurred at around the same time as Ried shot his firearm.

“This officer yelled stop and fired the Taser at Rosser, fearing for officer safety. Officer Ried fired his side arm at nearly the same time,” Raab said. “The time from when officers first entered the house and yelled police to when she was shot and Tasered was approximately 5-10 seconds.”

Toxicology analysis revealed a blood alcohol concentration 0.170 grams /100 mL along with cocaine and THC. In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 grams /100 mL or higher. Cocaine residue was found in Rosser’s bedroom, along with a hand-rolled cigarette that was suspected to have contained marijuana.

The Controlled Substance Report said there were 0.073 grams of marijuana found.

The autopsy report, conducted at the University of Michigan Morgue, showed Rosser died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

Rosser was reportedly shot with a Taser and a 40-caliber semi-automatic handgun.

The autopsy report revealed a penetrating entrance gunshot wound to the left chest with perforation of the heart, proximal aorta and esophagus.

According to the autopsy report, Rosser had a history of bipolar disease.

There were two other incidents in which police were called that involved Rosser, one in September and another in October. Officers reported these instances as assault/simple battery, according to the Incident Reports released along with the documents relating to Rosser’s death.

In January, demonstrators marched through Ann Arbor to protest the prosecutor’s decision not to press charges in the incident. The event followed a series of demonstrations in Ann Arbor and nationwide protesting the use of unnecessary force by law enforcement officials.

At the protest, Rosser’s sister, Shae Ward, expressed disagreement with the prosecutor’s decision.

“My hope is that I can get strong enough to speak for her,” Ward said. “Because I know her person. She would have never attacked Officer Ried. She would have never made him feel that he would have to take her life to defuse the situation. That is just outlandish. It totally is outlandish.”

Daily Staff Reporter Gen Hummer contributed to this report.

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Photos courtesy of the Ann Arbor Police Department