In late December, Andre Hill was fatally shot by police in Columbus, Ohio after a neighbor filed a noise complaint. The former officer, Adam Coy, has since been terminated and now faces murder charges.
Hill, 47, was holding a cellphone in his hand at the time of his death. Coy, who had been on the force for 19 years, was arrested Wednesday night (February 3).
Ohio’s Attorney General Dave Yost served as a special prosecutor in the investigation and said Coy was charged with murder in the commission of a felony along with felonious assault, and two counts of dereliction of duty, as reported by The Washington Post.
“Truth is the best friend of justice, and the grand jury here found the truth,” Yost said. “Andre Hill should not be dead.”
When Coy responded to the noise complaint call, he didn’t turn on his body camera, and didn’t let other officers know that he thought Hill might have a weapon, which led to the two counts of dereliction of duty.
Mark Collins, Coy’s attorney, said his client will enter a plea of not guilty, citing his cooperation in the investigation and a Supreme Court case that ruled officers can use force if there’s an “objectively reasonable” belief they are under threat. Collins says Coy mistook the object in Hill’s hand for a revolver.
In the body cam footage from other officers, the cellphone in Hill’s hand glows in the dark of the night. There’s no audio in the available footage before the shooting takes place, but one officer told investigators that Coy yelled “He has a gun,” before shooting Hill.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump tweeted that the charges against Coy is a step forward to get justice for Hill.
Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther also tweeted, thanking that grand jury for their service.
In the aftermath of the shooting, Mayor Ginther asked former Police Chief Thomas Quinlan to leave, saying the community “lost faith in him.”
“It became clear to me that Chief Quinlan could not successfully implement the reform and change that I expect and that the community demands,” Ginther said at the time.
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