Columbus, Ohio officer who shot unarmed Black man fired as family demands justice

A disciplinary hearing for the police officer will take place Monday.

ByMeredith Deliso ABCNews logo
Tuesday, December 29, 2020
Chief calls to terminate cop who shot Black man
A hearing is set for the police officer involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man last week.

COLUMBUS -- A Columbus, Ohio police officer was fired Monday after bodycam footage showed him fatally shooting 47-year-old Andre Hill, a Black man holding a cellphone, and refusing to administer first aid for several minutes.

The police officer, identified as Adam Coy, a 19-year veteran of the Columbus Division of Police, was stripped of all police powers after it was discovered that he did not turn on his body camera until after fatally shooting Hill early on Tuesday, Dec. 22.

Body camera footage of the incident released Wednesday also showed the officer did not appear to provide immediate aid to Hill.

In a statement Thursday announcing his recommendation for Coy's termination, Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan referred to Hill's death as "preventable" and "senseless violence."

"Like all of you, I witnessed his critical misconduct firsthand via his body-worn camera," he said. "I have seen everything I need to see to reach the conclusion that Officer Coy must be terminated, immediately."

Quinlan filed two departmental charges alleging critical misconduct against officer Coy, which he said were sustained after an expedited investigation. Quinlan bypassed the usual hearing he holds with an officer, and said it is not a rush to judgment.

"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," Quinlan said. "This violation cost an innocent man his life."

Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus, Jr. said in a statement on Monday that he was upholding Chief Quinlan's recommendation to terminate Coy.

"The actions of Adam Coy do not live up to the oath of a Columbus Police officer, or the standards we, and the community, demand of our officers," the statement said. "The shooting of Andre Hill is a tragedy for all who loved him in addition to the community and our Division of Police."

The vice president of the local police union told The Associated Press that Columbus police officer Coy hours was fired hours after a hearing was held Monday to determine his employment.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther also called for Coy's termination.

He said in a statement on Monday: "I applaud Safety Director Ned Pettus and Police Chief Tom Quinlan for their swift action in firing Mr. Coy for not using reasonable use of force consistent with Division policies, not activating his body-worn camera and not rendering aid to a dying Mr. Hill. This does not represent the values of the Columbus Division of Police."

"This is the first step in our journey and fight for justice in the unjustifiable killing of Andre Hill," attorney Ben Crump said in a statement.

Hill's family reacted to the footage in an interview Thursday with "Good Morning America," that aired Saturday.

"These cops are too aggressive. They were cussing out my dad after they shot him," Hill's daughter, Karissa Hill, said. "If you watch the video you can hear him gasping for his last breaths and they're just cussing at him, put his hands behind his back and move his hands and he's laying there shot."

Hill was shot early Tuesday after officers were dispatched to a "non-emergency" disturbance call from a neighbor who allegedly saw a man sitting in an SUV for an extended period of time turning his car on and off, according to the Columbus Department of Public Safety.

In the body camera footage released Wednesday, Hill is seen coming out of a garage with a cellphone in his left hand and his right hand obscured before Coy opens fire.

Coy is then seen approaching Hill and ordering that he show his hands and roll over, before asking a colleague if medics have been called. Coy does not administer aid to the victim, according to the footage.

Hill was taken to Riverside Hospital where he was pronounced dead, investigators said.

No weapon was found at the scene, and none of the other responding officers had their cameras on until after Hill was shot, according to investigators.

Two investigations are currently underway in the Columbus Division of Police. One entails Coy's use of deadly force, failure to activate his body-worn camera and failure to render aid, Quinn said. The second involves the additional officers tied to the incident, who also either failed to activate their body-worn cameras or render aid.

"Any other officers found to have violated policy will be held accountable," Quinn said in his statement Thursday.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is handling the criminal investigation of Hill's death. On Thursday, the acting prosecutor for Franklin County, Ohio, where Columbus is located, appointed the state's attorney general, David Yost, as a special assistant in the case.

Hill's family doesn't think firing Coy goes far enough, and want charges pressed against the officer.

"I not only want justice for Andre. I want justice for everyone who has been done wrong," Shawna Barnett, Hill's sister, told "Good Morning America." "I don't think him retiring or leaving his job is good enough. I need for him to do serious time because that was completely uncalled for."

The family also wants the 911 call and dispatch recordings released.

"What was told to this officer on this non-emergency call -- why he felt it necessary to shoot a man who he was investigating for a noise disturbance?" Ben Crump, the family's attorney, told "Good Morning America."

About 100 people marched Thursday in the neighborhood where Hill was killed, shouting "Say his name." The rally was held a day after the funeral for Casey Goodson Jr., a Black man who was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy at the doorstep of his Columbus home earlier this month.

"We didn't even get to lay the last Black man down before they killed the next," organizer Sierra Mason told Columbus ABC affiliate WSYX.

"I'm just appalled," she told the station. "Once I saw the body-cam footage, I became enraged."

Hill's family held a candlelight vigil in his honor on Saturday, after their first Christmas without him.

"My kids called him 'Big Daddy' because they looked up to him, so they don't even understand what is going on right now. They just think their Big Daddy is coming home for Christmas," Karissa Hill told "Good Morning America." "It's just so hard because I haven't even got that far processing on how my dad's not going to be walking through these doors for Christmas."

ABC News' Ivan Pereira and the Associated Press contributed to this report.