The Ohio police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Black man within seconds of seeing him was on Wednesday arrested and indicted for murder in a rare instance of prosecutors charging members of law enforcement for deadly on-duty shootings. Former Columbus Police Officer Adam Coy, a 17-year veteran who was fired following the shooting of Andre Hill in late December, was charged with murder, felonious assault and dereliction of duty for failure to inform his fellow officer that he felt threatened.
Hill was all but executed when Coy saw the 47-year-old emerge from a home’s garage holding a glowing cellphone during the early morning hours of Dec. 22. Coy, who mistook the phone for a gun, shot Hill nearly on sight and then failed to render any medical aid to him in the crucial minutes after the shooting.
Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney representing Hill’s family, applauded the decision to indict Coy.
“We are encouraged by the decision of the grand jury to hold Office Coy accountable for his reckless action, resulting in the tragic death of Andre Hill,” Crump said in a statement sent to NewsOne. “Officer Coy claimed, ‘there’s a gun in his other hand,’ while Andre clearly held a phone. Though nothing will bring back Andre’s life and relieve his family’s grief, this is an important step toward justice.”
Hill laid on the ground for about 10 minutes before officers attempted chest compressions. The officers at the scene were prompted to do so by a supervising officer who inquired if any aid was given to Hill. He was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Coy was fired on Dec. 28. He and his partner were reprimanded for turning their cameras off prior to the shooting, then switching them on directly after the shooting. Initial footage of the shooting was captured from Coy’s camera using a “look back” feature which recorded about 60 seconds of footage without any audio prior to the time the camera was activated.
A preliminary autopsy revealed last week that Hill’s method of death is homicide.
Coy’s indictment was the latest fallout for the Columbus Police Department following the fatal police shooting of Casey Goodson Jr., who was shot in the back in Columbus on Dec. 4 when cops purportedly mistook the sandwiches he was holding for a gun. Goodson was shot by officers who were investigating another incident as he entered his grandmother’s home.
The combination prompted the now-former Columbus police chief to get demoted last week.
Thomas Quinlan has been the chief of police since 2019 when he was chosen over Perry Tarrant, a former assistant police chief in Seattle, who is Black.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther announced he would move forward with appointing members to the city’s first Civilian Review Board, which will oversee the police department. The board was created after community members passed the votes in November.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is leading the investigation. Ginther asked U.S. Attorney Dave DeVillers to review the case for civil rights violations.
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