A community in Ohio is seeing some sort of justice after a police officer accused of shooting and killing an unarmed Black man is terminated.
Last Tuesday (Dec 22) in the early morning hours, Andre’ Hill was shot within seconds of Columbus Police Officer Adam Coy seeing him. Coy, who neglected to activate his body camera before shooting Hill, was determined by the coroners office to be the “killer” of Hill, after the results from a preliminary autopsy revealed that the unarmed Black man was the victim of a homicide.
“Based on findings from the autopsy and medical death investigation, manner of death is homicide,” a brief letter from the Franklin County Coroner’s Office said in part. “Preliminary cause of death is multiple gunshot wounds.”
Hill’s case stirred national sentiment over the revelation that he was holding a cell phone — not a weapon — when he was shot early Tuesday morning. No weapons were recovered at the scene. In addition, Coy turned off his body camera leading up to the shooting but activated it directly afterward—causing many to point out his overall intent prior to arriving on the scene.
The video, which has no audio, was retrieved through a “look back” feature and shows Coy as he approaches Hill. There is no way to know what words were exchanged between the two. Six seconds go by between Hill’s appearance in the video and Coy firing his weapon.
Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Hill’s family, called the incident “tragic” before pointing out that the criminal justice system tendency to assume that black people are guilty until proven innocent is a major indicator of the overhaul and reform that many have continued to rally for.
“It’s outrageous and unconscionable that an officer responding to a non-emergency call would default to concluding that Andre Hill was a threat and fire multiple, deadly rounds into him, when Andre was only holding a cell phone,” Ben Crump, the civil rights lawyer representing Hill’s family, tweetedin response to the coroner’s letter. “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,”
The firing came after local officials convened hours earlier on Monday to determine Coy’s employment status, the news was confirmed by the Associated Press on Tuesday (Dec 29).