| The Columbus Dispatch
Black man shot after approaching Columbus police officer with phone
Andre Hill was approaching a Columbus police officer with his phone in hand when he was fatally shot.
An Ohio grand jury has indicted former Columbus police officer Adam Coy for the shooting death of Andre Hill, an unarmed Black man.
Coy, who was fired after the fatal December shooting of the 47-year-old Hill, was charged with one count of murder, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced Wednesday night at a virtual press conference.
“(Police) undertake the increasingly difficult and dangerous task of protecting our communities, but every person is responsible for and judged by his or her own actions,” Yost said. “Neither guilt nor virtue may be assumed by association.”
“The grand jury found the truth: Andre Hill should not be dead.”
Coy, who is white, responded with another officer Dec. 22 to a nonemergency disturbance call about a parked SUV that had been running on and off for a period of time. Hill was inside a garage and an expected guest at that home. About 10 seconds after encountering him, Coy fired his service weapon at Hill multiple times.
Neither Coy nor the other officer turned on their body cameras until after the shooting. Because of a “look-back” feature on the cameras that records the 60 seconds before they are turned on, the shooting itself was captured on video, with no audio.
The video shows officers getting out of their cruisers and walking up the driveway to the open garage door at the home. Hill has his back turned to police. He turns around and takes four steps toward the officers with his cellphone up in his left hand and his right hand not visible.
Coy then shoots Hill and approaches him. The audio now on, Coy tells Hill to roll over, saying he can’t see his right hand. Coy asks if a medic is coming but doesn’t provide initial aid.
Coy, 44, is also facing one count of felonious assault and two counts of dereliction of duty — one for failing to turn on his body camera when he responded to the scene and another for failing to inform his fellow officer that he felt Hill presented a danger.
Coy was arrested Wednesday afternoon, Yost said. Coy has a history of complaints and issues with excessive force during his time with the police division.
In a written statement, Mayor Andrew Ginther praised the grand jury’s decision.
“The community was outraged by the killing of Andre Hill, an unarmed Black man, by law enforcement,” Ginther said. “The indictment does not lessen the pain of his tragic death for Mr. Hill’s loved ones, but it is a step towards justice. I thank the grand jury for their service.”
The shooting of Hill was the second police shooting of a Black man in December in Columbus. Casey Goodson Jr., was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputy Jason Meade at the doorstep of his home earlier in the month. The investigation into that shooting is being handled by Columbus police, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division under the oversight of U.S. Attorney David DeVillers of the Southern District of Ohio.
Contributing: Jennifer Smola, The Columbus Dispatch
Follow Eric Lagatta on Twitter: @EricLagatta