The former Columbus police officer accused of killing Andre Hill has been indicted for murder, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced at a press conference on Wednesday night. Adam Coy is accused of fatally shooting Hill, a 47-year-old Black man, during an early-morning encounter in a residential garage in late December.
Coy was indicted for murder in the commission of a felony, felonious assault, dereliction of duty for failing to activate his body camera and dereliction of duty for failing to tell his fellow officer that he believed Hill presented a danger, Yost said. The grand jurors did not indict Coy for purposeful murder.
“Andre Hill should not be dead,” Yost said, later adding that “I believe the evidence of this case supports the indictment.”
Authorities said the shooting occurred after a neighbor reported a person who was repeatedly starting and stopping the engine of an SUV at around 1:30 a.m. on a residential street. Body camera footage showed Coy approaching Hill, who was standing inside a garage. As Hill walked toward Coy holding a cellphone in his left hand, Coy fired his service weapon. Hill fell to the ground as Coy yelled for him to show his hands.
The video did not show Coy providing medical care. Hill later died of his injuries, and a preliminary autopsy ruled his death a homicide.
Coy was peacefully arrested earlier Wednesday night at his attorney’s office, and will make his initial court appearance on Thursday, Yost said. Coy’s attorneys said he will plead not guilty to the charges.
“The grand jury’s function is singular — to determine if there is probable cause to indict,” attorneys Mark Collins and Kaitlyn Stephens said in a statement. “This is a much different and more importantly, much lower standard than what the State of Ohio will have to prove come trial.”
“This case must be judged on both an objective and subjective standard,” the attorneys added. “The totality of the circumstances are to be taken into consideration along with Officer Coy’s training and experience, and it is to be viewed through the lens of a reasonable police officer; not with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight.”
Officer Amy Detweiler, who was on the scene when Coy died, later told investigators that she heard Coy yell, “There’s a gun in his other hand, there’s a gun in his other hand!” moments before he fired his weapon. Authorities have said that no weapons were found at the scene. Detweiler also told investigators that she did not see a weapon, and that she “did not observe any threats from Mr. Hill.”
Officials said Coy did not activate his body camera before the shooting. Instead, video of the encounter was captured by a 60-second “look back” feature Coy activated when he turned on his camera after the shooting. The “look back” feature does not capture audio.
Two days after the shooting, the city’s police chief said he had recommended Coy’s termination.
“I have seen everything I need to see to reach the conclusion that Officer Coy must be terminated, immediately,” Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan wrote in a public statement announcing his recommendation.
In his letter to the city’s public safety director, Quinlan said Coy “had no immediate cause to believe criminal activity was afoot and certainly had no predisposition to believe Mr. Hill presented any threat to officers,” adding that Coy “has violated his right to hold his position as a police officer.”
Quinlan noted in his report that Coy “reacted with deep distress using profanity as he realized Mr. Hill was unarmed,” and said Coy could be heard on his body camera “becoming physically ill” in the aftermath of the shooting. But he nevertheless wrote that “Officer Coy’s use of force was not objectively reasonable, he did not use trained techniques, did not use his BWC properly, and did not render medical aid.”
Coy was fired days later. In a statement announcing Coy’s termination, the public safety director said his actions “do not live up to the oath of a Columbus Police officer, or the standards we, and the community, demand of our officers.”
Hill’s family, represented by attorney Benjamin Crump, had previously called for Coy to be arrested. Crump tweeted Wednesday that the charges are the “first steps to get Andre and his family JUSTICE.”
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