The city of Columbus, Ohio’s state capital, has agreed to pay the family of Andre Hill $10 million after the unarmed Black man was shot and killed by a police officer. It is the largest settlement in Columbus history. The city attorney said that while the money could not bring Hill back, “it was an important and necessary step in the right direction.”
Hill, 47, was killed by Columbus police officer Adam Coy, who is White, in the early morning hours of December 22, 2020 as he walked out of a garage holding a cell phone. Coy, a 19-year veteran of the department, was fired within a few days of the shooting. He was responding to a 911 call from a nearby resident complaining about an SUV’s engine keeping him awake as it was turned on and off. There was no complaint about criminal activity, and it was not an emergency. Instead, a call reporting a minor nuisance ended in Hill’s killing.
Beyond the money, the settlement terms include renaming a gymnasium Hill frequented at the Brentnell Community Center after him.
No Body Cameras
In violation of department policy, Coy’s body camera was not activated until after he fired the gun. However, because his body cam included a feature capturing the minute prior to being turned on, there is a video of the incident. This video does not contain audio.
In the video, two police officers approach the garage, and then shine a flashlight into it. Hill emerges slowly, holding his cellphone, and is then shot. Coy pats down Hill as he moans in pain, telling him not to move. There is no immediate call for medical assistance. Hill succumbed to his injuries an hour later at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.
An Unarmed Guest
Hill was staying as a guest at the home in whose garage he was shot. A family friend owned the property. He was unarmed. The owner of the house shouted at police after the shooting that Hill had brought her Christmas money and did not do anything. Hill leaves behind a daughter and granddaughter.
In February, the Columbus City Council unanimously passed Andre’s Law. The law mandates the use of body cameras in any law enforcement action. It also requires officers to call for medical help immediately and give aid if their use of force has resulted in injuries.
Officer Pleads Not Guilty
After an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Coy was indicted by a Franklin County grand jury and charged with Hill’s murder in February. The city’s public safety director stated that Coy made no effort to deescalate the situation before shooting Hill. However, he added that the “known facts” did not establish “objectively reasonable” use of deadly force.
Coy, who had a considerable history of previous complaints from citizens, pleaded not guilty. Along with the murder charge, he was charged with one count of felonious assault and two counts of dereliction of duty for failing to turn on his body cam and not alerting the officer with him that he believed Hill was a threat.
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