Columbus Department of Public Safety
The former Columbus, Ohio, police officer who fatally shot Andre Hill, an unarmed Black man, has been charged with murder, prosecutors announced Wednesday night.
A Franklin County grand jury indicted Adam Coy on one count of murder in the commission of a felony and one count of felonious assault, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said. Coy, a 19-year veteran of the city's police force, was also charged with two counts of dereliction of duty for failing to engage his body camera and failing to inform his fellow officer that he believed Hill presented a danger.
"The vast virtue of law enforcement is diminished by the very few bad actors among its ranks, and only by holding a bad actor accountable can that virtue be sustained," Yost told reporters during a virtual press conference. "Here’s what I mean in plain English: same rules for everybody."
"Truth is the best friend of justice, and the grand jury here found the truth: Andre Hill should not be dead," he continued.
On Dec. 22, 2020, Coy and another officer were responding to a nonemergency call regarding a man "sitting in an SUV for an extended period, repeatedly turning the vehicle on and off" when they confronted Hill, according to the city's Department of Public Safety.
While the officers did not turn on their body cameras until after Coy shot Hill, the cameras recorded video, but no audio, 60 seconds prior due to a special feature, capturing footage of the shooting. The video showed Hill stepping out of an open garage door and holding up his cellphone as the officers approach him. Within seconds, Coy fired his weapon, striking Hill.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation led the investigation into the shooting, while the attorney general's office presented the case to the grand jury. Yost said his office was asked to serve as a special prosecutor due to a postelection transition in the Franklin County prosecutor's office. Last month, Democrat Gary Tyack was sworn in to the post after defeating a Republican incumbent who had overseen only one police officer indictment for the killing of a civilian in his 24-year term, despite multiple high-profile incidents.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Hill's family, called the charges the "first steps to get Andre and his family JUSTICE" on Twitter.
Coy, 44, was arrested Wednesday and is due in court Thursday for a bail hearing, Yost said.
The charges come just over a month after the coroner's office ruled Hill's death a homicide, saying the 47-year-old man died of multiple gunshot wounds. Coy was subsequently fired from the Columbus Police Department following a disciplinary hearing.
Hill was the second Black man killed by police in Columbus in a matter of weeks. On Dec. 4, Casey Goodson Jr., 23, was fatally shot with no body camera footage or witnesses beyond the sheriff's deputy who fired his gun.
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.