Columbus, OH – The Columbus police officer who fatally shot Andre Hill while investigating a noise complaint last week has been fired.
Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus fired now-former Columbus Police Officer Adam Coy on Monday evening, just hours after the veteran officer’s disciplinary hearing was held, The Columbus Dispatch reported.
Officer Coy, a 19-year veteran-of-the-force, declined to attend the hearing, but three members of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) attended on his behalf.
“Unlike the vast majority of other uses of deadly force by our officers, the evidence at hand indicates that this killing was not objectively reasonable,” Columbus Police Lieutenant Tim Myers said during the disciplinary hearing, according to a transcript released by Pettus’ office.
Lt. Myers said Officer Coy discharged his duty weapon at Hill “without legal justification,” according to The Columbus Dispatch.
“When the actions of one of our own falls short, we have a responsibility to identify it, address it, correct it, and prevent it,” the lieutenant added.
The reasons Pettus listed for justification of Officer Coy’s termination included failing to activate his bodycam while out on the noise complaint, failing to render aid to Hill after the shooting, and violation of the department’s use-of-force policy.
The director further blasted the veteran officer for not attempting “to use trained techniques to de-escalate the situation,” The Columbus Dispatch reported.
“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,” Pettus wrote in a statement issued along with his decision.
Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan had already recommended the city fire Officer Coy ahead of Monday’s disciplinary hearing, according to The Columbus Dispatch.
“When I became chief, I changed our core values to include accountability,” Chief Quinlan wrote in a statement issued Monday. “This is what accountability looks like. The evidence provided solid rationale for termination. Mr. Coy will now have to answer to the state investigators for the death of Andre Hill.”
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther lauded Coy’s firing, and praised Chief Quinlan and Pettus “for their swift action,” according to The Columbus Dispatch.
“Now we wait on the investigation of [the Ohio Bureau of Investigation], a presentation of evidence to a grand jury and potential federal charges from the U.S. Department of Justice,” Ginther said in a statement. “We expect transparency, accountability and justice. The family and the entire community deserve it.”
The caller reported that someone was sitting in a vehicle and had been repeatedly turning the ignition off and on, according to WOSU.
Officers failed to activate their bodycams prior to arriving at the scene, but did so immediately after the shooting, Ginther told reporters at a press conference on Dec. 22.
Because the cameras also capture the 60 seconds prior to activation, the incident was caught on video.
However, the audio does not begin until after shots were fired.
Bodycam footage showed officers as they made their way up a driveway towards an open overhead garage door.
A man holding a cell phone out in front of him walked around the passenger side of the vehicle as the officers approached the threshold of the garage.
His right hand appeared to be tucked in his pocket, the video showed.
A moment later, the officer frantically retreated down the driveway with his duty weapon drawn.
Police said the officer fired multiple rounds at the man.
The audio kicked in as he made his way back towards the garage to where the suspect, later identified as Hill, 47, was lying on the ground.
“Put your f—king hand out to the side,” the officer ordered. “Hands out to the side. Now!”
The officer, later identified as Officer Coy, instructed Hill to roll onto his stomach, but Hill remained on his side.
“Don’t get f—king close – I can’t see his f—king hand!” he warned another officer.
“Get your hand out from underneath you now!” Officer Coy ordered, just before he confirmed that medics were on their way.
He then advanced towards Hill, warning him not to move, and rolled him onto his back, the video showed.
Hill was transported to OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, where he later died, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
Police did not find a weapon at the scene.
Due to a lack of audio in the first 60 seconds of the recording, it is unknown what verbal exchange may have occurred between Hill and the officers prior to the fatal shooting.
Ginther said he was “outraged” over the officer-involved shooting and called for Officer Coy to be fired immediately, WOSU reported.
He also blasted the Columbus Police Department (CPD) for failing to render aid to Hill until approximately six minutes after the shooting occurred.
“From what we can see, none of the officers initially at the scene provide medical assistance to Mr. Hill,” the mayor said, according to WOSU. “No compression on the wounds to stop the bleeding. No attempts at CPR. Not even a hand on the shoulder and an encouraging word that medics were in route.”
Police later learned that the homeowners knew Hill, and that he was an expected guest at the residence, WOSU reported.
Ginther didn’t release many details about what led up to the shooting during his media availability but focused instead the officers’ failure to activate their bodycams prior to the incident.
“While it is early in the investigation, there is one fact that disturbs me greatly,” Ginther said. “The officer involved did not turn on their body worn camera until after the shooting. A function of the technology provides a 60-second lookback, recording 60 seconds prior to the camera being turned on. But the lookback function does not record any audio. So, while we have video of the shooting itself, we have no audio of what the officer said or the gentleman who was shot and killed.”
The mayor said the city has spent $5 million to outfit its police with bodycams “for situations just like this.”
“It is unacceptable to me and the community that the officers did not turn on their camera,” Ginther told reporters at the initial press conference.
“Let me be clear,” Ginther continued. “If you’re not going to turn on your bodyworn camera, you cannot serve and protect the people of Columbus.
As per protocol for all officer-involved shootings, Officer Coy was placed on paid administrative leave after the incident until he was formally fired on Monday.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) is handing the investigation into the incident.
Ginther said he also asked the U.S. Attorney’s office to review the investigation and ascertain whether any civil rights may have been violated.