Three days before Christmas, a Black father was shot and killed at the hands of an Ohio police officer and left bleeding without aid for more than five minutes. The grave offense the man later identified as Andre Hill was accused of was being too close to a car reportedly being cut on and off in the area, Columbus authorities told reporters. Officer Adam Coy, a 19-year veteran of the Columbus Police Department, shot Hill while Coy’s body-camera was off. The officer didn’t turn it on until after the shooting, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said during a press conference Wednesday. Coy was initially relieved of duty and stripped of his badge, gun, and police powers, and Ginther called for the officer’s termination during the press conference. The mayor also called Hill’s death an “unexplainable loss.”
“The call for service early yesterday morning was a non-emergency call from a neighbor, not a 911 call, about a car on the street that was being turned on and off,” Ginther said. Residents in the area knew Hill on the street where his car was parked, and he was an “expected guest,” the mayor said. “He was not an intruder,” Ginther said.
He explained that while the body-camera was off, it did provide a “60-second look back that captures the shooting” without audio. “We can see Mr. Hill coming out of the garage of the home with one hand raised with his cellphone and the other not visible,” Ginther said. Soon after, the video showed Hill being shot and falling to the ground. “I said yesterday that I’m outraged by the shooting,” Ginther said. “I’m also very disturbed about what I don’t see next in the body-worn camera footage. From what we can see, none of the officers initially at the scene provide medical assistance to Mr. Hill. 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 en route.
“It is an officer’s duty to not only summon a medic but to render aid.” Ginther said the police department’s values of integrity, passion, accountability, respect, and excellence “were absent.”
“To be honest, (...) I had never seen body-worn camera footage like that, where literally no attempts to revive and aid this man, who had committed no crime, was dying,” the mayor said. “That is a stunning disregard for life, and in this case, Black life, that is unacceptable in this community.”
The community is still reeling from the death of Casey Goodson Jr., a Black man shot by a pastor and Franklin County sheriff's deputy who earlier bragged about being able to “hunt people” before killing Goodson on December 4, the Columbus Free Press reported.
“I work for the sheriff’s office. . . . I hunt people — it’s a great job, I love it,” Jason Meade told a congregation at a 2018 convention of the Ohio State Association of Free Will Baptists. “I worked this job 14 years, you know I ain’t never been hit clean in the face one time? It’s a fact. It ain’t ’cause I’m so good. . . . You know why? I learned long ago I gotta throw the first punch. And I learned long ago why I’m justified in throwing the first punch. Don’t look up here like, ‘Oh, police brutality.’ People I hit you wish you could hit, trust me.”
The mayor mentioned Goodson during the press conference and said he had attended his funeral, held the day after Hill was killed. “No parent should have to bury their child, and I am heartbroken for Mrs. (Tamala) Payne as well as Casey’s siblings and his friends,” Ginther said, then focusing mostly on Hill’s death.
Director of Public Safety Ned Pettus Jr. echoed the mayor’s sentiment, in part. “This is a very sad day for our city, the city I grew up in, the city my grandchildren now grow up in, the city I’ve lived in all my life as a Black man,” he said. “To our Black community, I say this: I know your pain. I understand your fears and your anger, but I am not just a Black man. I am the director of public safety.”
He said his job requires that he put aside his personal feelings. The next step is for Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan to serve Coy with a list of charges against him and for Pettus to conduct a fair and impartial public hearing. It’s unclear how the chief and other officers on the scene will be held accountable in Hill’s death.
His daughter, Karissa, spoke about her father as a person at a candlelight vigil Saturday outside of the Brentnell Community Recreation Center in Columbus. "My dad was my best friend. He was my protector and my provider. Big daddy meant a lot in my home, to my kids and to me," she said.
RELATED: Body cameras off, police killed unarmed man in Columbus, Ohio
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