During Monday’s meeting of the Ann Arbor City Council, Ann Arbor Police Chief John Seto responded to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s decision not to press criminal charges against Ann Arbor Police Officer David Ried following the fatal shooting of Ann Arbor resident Aura Rosser.
The meeting also addressed the city’s response to the previous weekend’s snowstorm, as well as submitting an amicus brief in the case challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, which will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in the spring.
During the police chief’s remarks, Seto expressed his condolences to Rosser’s friends and family and added that Rosser’s death was a tragic outcome of a justified response. He noted that Ried is a fine and professional officer with sound judgment.
Rosser was shot and killed in November while two Ann Arbor police officers were responding to a report of domestic violence. The prosecutor’s report said Rosser approached the officer’s with a knife and declined to put it down when asked by police.
“The community expects its officers to resolve a wide range of conflict,” Seto said. “When doing so, they have a duty to protect citizens who are in danger and they have a right to protect themselves. Both were required of Officers Ried and Raab on November 9.”
Seto said while the Ann Arbor Police Department awaits the delivery of 86 body cameras, the department is developing training and policy for the use of cameras by police officers. He noted that he has added diversity awareness and autism awareness to the department 2015 training calendar. He also said he plans to continue working with the Ann Arbor Human Rights Commission in the coming months.
“In the weeks following the incident I have witnessed a great deal of patience and restraint through many peaceful demonstrations that have occurred,” Seto said. “I am grateful to be the police chief in a community where its citizens can express their opinion in a peaceful and respectful manner.”
Demonstrators marched through Ann Arbor Saturday protesting police brutality and the prosecutor’s decision, which characterized the shooting as an act of “lawful self-defense.”
The Council also addressed the city’s response to the severe weather and snow that accumulated over the weekend. City Administrator Steve Powers noted that Ann Arbor has received 14 inches of snow in the past 28 hours, reportedly the third largest event two-day accumulation since 1970. Since Monday afternoon all major roads have been plowed twice.
“Our crews are working all hour shifts 24 hours a day and it’s expected that all local streets will be plowed by 1 p.m. on Tuesday,” he said.
Powers said the city will clean dead end streets and will follow with downtown alleys and clear snow from sidewalks, parking lots and lanes and parks.
The Council also unanimously approved a resolution that provided for Ann Arbor’s listing as a supporting municipality in an amicus brief for DeBoer vs. Rick Snyder.
The case, which the U.S. Supreme Court added to its 2015 docket in January, challenges the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor (D) noted that the city has supported amicus briefs from district courts and appellate courts all the way to the Supreme Court, and said he is delighted City Council has supported the defense of right to marriage.
“Equal protection of the law is fundamental to our society and if what happens come June is what we all hope happens come June, then that will be good day and that principle will be ratified and moved forward,” Taylor said.
Finally, City Council approved the DTE Energy Co. installation of a solar panel at the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport. The license is effective for 20 years with the option of 10 one-year renewals.