A white Ohio police officer was indicted Wednesday on a murder charge in the latest fallout following the December shooting death of 47-year-old Andre Hill, a Black man, the state's attorney general said.
Columbus Police Officer Adam Coy was indicted by a Franklin County grand jury following an investigation by the Ohio Attorney General's office. The charges faced by Coy, a 19-year veteran of the force, also include dereliction of duty for failure to use his body camera and for failing to tell the other officer he believed Hill presented a danger.
“In this case, the citizens of Franklin County, represented by the individual grand jurors, found probable cause to believe that Mr. Coy committed a crime when he killed Andre Hill by gunfire,” Attorney General Dave Yost said at a news conference Wednesday night.
He added, “Truth is the best friend of justice, and the grand jury here found the truth.”
Coy and another officer had responded to a neighbor’s nonemergency call after 1 a.m. on Dec. 22 about a car in front of his house in the city’s northwest side that had been running, then shut off, then turned back on, according to a copy of the call released in December.
Police bodycam footage showed Hill emerging from a garage and holding up a cellphone in his left hand seconds before he was fatally shot by Coy. There is no audio because Coy hadn’t activated the body camera; an automatic “look back” feature captured the shooting without audio.
In the moments after Hill was fatally shot, additional bodycam footage shows two other Columbus officers rolled Hill over and put handcuffs on him before leaving him alone again. None of them, according to the footage released, offered any first aid even though Hill was barely moving, groaning and bleeding while laying on the garage floor.
Coy, who had a long history of complaints from citizens, was fired on Dec. 28 for failing to activate his body camera before the confrontation and for not providing medical aid to Hill.
A message was left Wednesday with Coy’s attorney seeking comment. The union representing Columbus police officers issued a short statement saying it will wait to see how the case plays out.
Coy “will have the ability to present facts on his behalf at a trial just like any other citizen,” said Keith Ferrell, president of the local FOP. “At that time, we will see all the facts for the first time with the public as the process plays out.”
The indictment of Coy comes less than a week after Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan was forced out of his role after Mayor Andrew Ginther said he lost confidence in his ability to make the necessary changes to the department.
Hill’s family, while still grieving Hill’s death, is happy with the indictment which they see as a first step, said Attorney Michael Wright.
It’s important to start holding these officers accountable for their bad actions and their bad acts,” Wright said. “I think it will go a long way for one, the public to trust law enforcement, for two, to potentially change the behavior of officers and their interaction with individuals that shouldn’t be killed or should not endure excessive force.”
This is the second Columbus police officer recently charged with murder. Former vice squad officer Andrew Mitchell was charged in 2019 with fatally shooting a woman during a 2018 undercover prostitution investigation.
Mitchell also faces federal charges of forcing women to have sex with him under threat of an arrest, pressuring others to help cover up crimes and lying to federal investigators when he said he’d never had sex with prostitutes. He has pleaded not guilty.