On Monday, Columbus Public Safety Director Ned Pettus will decide whether to fire Columbus Police Officer Adam Coy, who killed Andre Hill during a service call last Tuesday morning.
Coy and another officer were responding to a non-emergency call on Oberlin Drive just before 2 a.m. on December 22 when they encountered Hill inside a neighbor's garage, where Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther says Hill was an "expected guest."
A Cranbrook resident had reported seeing a man inside a vehicle, turning it on and off repeatedly, but there's no indication whether Hill was the person referenced by the caller.
Body camera footage shows Coy shining a flashlight on an open garage, where Hill turns around with a cellphone in his hand. Hill takes a few steps towards the officers, but within five seconds, Coy raises his gun and shoots Hill.
Coy and the other officer did not activate their body cameras until after the shooting, so the first 60 seconds of the footage has no audio, meaning there is no sound of Coy's encounter with Hill.
On Christmas Eve, just two days after Hill's death, Columbus Police Chief Tom Quinlan recommended the division fire Coy, an action urged by Ginther and several members of Columbus City Council. Coy has already been relieved of duty, stripping him of his badge, gun and all police powers as the investigations move forward.
In a video statement, Quinlan explained how the charges will proceed.
“The next step in the process is a hearing before the Public Safety Director," Quinlan says. "That will happen Monday morning, after which the director will rule on my recommendation for termination.”
Quinlan bypassed the normal disciplinary process by issuing his recommendation before the hearing, but the final call on Coy's discipline lays with Pettus, who said he would conduct a "clear, impartial hearing" as required under the police union contract. Coy, a 19-year veteran of the Columbus Division of Police, will have the opportunity to attend the hearing with an attorney and representation from the union.
Quinlan says the division’s disciplinary investigation has actually been proceeding on two tracks.
“This first investigation is related to Officer Coy’s unreasonable use of deadly force, failure to activate his body worn camera and failure to render aid to Mr. Hill,” Quinlan describes. “The second investigation pertains to the additional officers involved in this incident who either failed to activate their body cameras or failed to render aid.”
It took more than five minutes for any officer to offer first aid to Hill, who later died after being transported to Riverside Hospital a few blocks away.
No internal charges have yet been announced against the other officers who responded to the scene, none of whom have been named.
State officials conducting a criminal investigation into Coy’s actions, and the U.S. Attorney is reviewing the case for potential civil rights charges. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost was named a special prosecutor in the case.
Hill's death was the second case this month of a white law enforcement officer in Columbus fatally shooting a Black man. The U.S. Attorney's Office is also conducting a federal criminal and civil rights investigation into the death of Casey Goodson Jr., who was killed at his home by Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Meade.