Dec 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Ohio police officer fired for fatally shooting unarmed Black man

Photo of people in a car waving signs and banners demanding justice for Andre Hill
Photo: Stephen Zenner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

The police officer who shot and killed Andre Hill, an unarmed Black man, in Columbus, Ohio, last week has been fired, the city's police chief said Monday.

Driving the news: Adam Coy, a 19-year veteran with the police force, did not attempt to deescalate the situation before shooting Hill, according to Public Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr., who said Monday that the "known facts do not establish that this use of deadly force was objectively reasonable," per ABC News.

  • Coy, who is white, also failed to turn on his body camera until after he shot Hill, though the tech inside the camera recorded a 60-second look back without audio.
  • Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther supported Coy's termination.
  • The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the incident for possible criminal charges.

What happened: Officers received a non-emergency call from a neighbor on Dec. 22 who allegedly reported a suspicious man in an SUV turning the car on and off for an extended period of time, according to the Columbus Department of Public Safety.

  • As officers arrived at the scene, 47-year-old Hill exited a garage with a cellphone in his left hand. His right hand was not visible, the department said.
  • Coy opened fire, then ordered Hill to show his hands and roll over, per ABC News. Coy did not administer aid.
  • No weapon was found at the scene.
  • The preliminary autopsy report lists “multiple gunshot wounds” and ruled his death a homicide.

What they’re saying: "Andre Hill's death is another tragic example of the tendency of police to view Black people as criminal or dangerous, and it points to the need for comprehensive, national police reform. The family wants to review all the bodycam footage as soon as possible," Hill family attorney Ben Crump tweeted.

  • “We have an officer who violated his oath to comply with the rules and policies of the Columbus Division of Police. And the consequences of that violation are so great, it requires immediate action. This violation cost an innocent man his life,” police chief Thomas Quinlan said in a statement on Dec. 24.
  • Firing Coy is not enough, Hill's family told ABC News on Saturday. "I not only want justice for Andre, I want justice for everyone that has been done wrong," sister Shawna Barnett said. "I need for [Coy] to do time."
  • Crump has said he plans to pursue a wrongful death civil lawsuit, per a CBS affiliate.

The big picture: The police killing of Hill came just weeks after the death Casey Goodson, Jr., a 23-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy on Dec. 4 in Columbus. Both shootings set off protests in the city.

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