COLUMBUS, Ohio — The white Columbus police officer who shot and killed an unarmed Black man last week has been terminated, according to leaders with the local Fraternal Order of Police.
A hearing on whether Officer Adam Coy should be fired concluded Monday morning, and city officials promised a “prompt decision” on the officer’s employment.
Brian Steel, vice president of FOP Capital City Lodge 9, confirmed Coy’s termination to The Columbus Dispatch, part of the USA TODAY Network.
A preliminary report from the Franklin County Coroner’s Office determined Andre Hill’s death to be a homicide. The preliminary cause of death is multiple gunshot wounds, the coroner’s office said. A full autopsy report is expected in 12 to 14 weeks.
The hearing before city Public Safety Director Ned Pettus was for Pettus to hear evidence supporting Coy’s termination as well as evidence in defense of the officer.
‘It’s nothing but pain’:The latest on the cases of violence against Black people that sparked America’s racial reckoning
Evan Waletzko, of Clintonville, lights candles at a makeshift memorial following a vigil for Andre Maurice Hill on Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020 in the Cranbrook neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio.
Coy was not in attendance at the hearing, the Columbus Department of Public Safety said in a written statement Monday. Members of the Fraternal Order of Police attended the hearing on his behalf.
The Columbus Department of Public Safety said earlier Monday it would issue an announcement with Pettus’ decision once it had been made. The department had not issued a follow-up statement nor confirmed Coy’s firing as of late Monday afternoon.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing Hill’s family, released a joint statement with the family saying it was the “correct decision to terminate” Coy.
“We look forward to reviewing all the bodycam footage and determining everything that happened leading to Andre Hill’s death,” the statement added. “We need to redefine a relationship between police and communities of color in which it doesn’t turn deadly for a Black person with a cell phone to encounter a law enforcement officer.”
Coy was served with paperwork last week documenting administrative charges against him in last Tuesday’s shooting of Hill, 47. There was also a recommendation that he be terminated. The administrative charges pertain to the “unreasonable use of force” by Coy, not turning on his body camera and not rendering aid to Hill, who was lying there for several minutes before he received assistance from other emergency responders.
Pettus is the only person within city government who has the authority to fire an officer.
‘Officer Coy must be terminated’:Officer who fatally shot unarmed Black man served with charges recommending his firing
Coy, 44, has worked in the department for 19 years. He was one of two officers who responded to a nonemergency disturbance call about a parked SUV that had been running on and off for a period of time.
Coy and a female officer, who has not yet been identified, arrived around 1:50 a.m. last Tuesday. About 10 seconds after encountering Hill, who was inside a garage and an expected guest at that home, Coy fired his service weapon multiple times.
Neither Coy nor the other officer turned their body cameras on until after the shooting. Because of a “look-back” feature on the cameras that records the 60 seconds before they are turned on, the shooting itself was captured on video, with no audio.
The video shows officers getting out of their cruisers and walking up the driveway to the open garage door at the home. Hill has his back turned to police. He turns around and takes four steps toward the officers with his cellphone up in his left hand and his right hand not visible.
Coy then shoots Hill and approaches him. The audio now on, Coy tells Hill to roll over, saying he can’t see his right hand. Coy then asks if a medic is coming.
According to the video, at least six minutes pass before aid was rendered to Hill. Coy does not provide any initial aid and in the intervening minutes, crime scene tape is placed around the scene and more officers arrive.
Leading up to a decision from Pettus, Coy was relieved of duty, had surrendered his gun and badge and was stripped of all police powers.
The officer has a history of complaints and issues with excessive force during his time with the police division.