By Jose Medina
COLUMBUS, OH – As the anti-racist movement continues to address systemic racism throughout the US, it received a small win in Columbus, Ohio, for the family of Andre Hill, an unarmed Black man shot and killed earlier this month by police.
Public Safety Director Ned Pettus, Jr., on Monday fired Columbus police officer Adam Coy after a disciplinary hearing—Coy was not present at the hearing and was represented by the Fraternal Order of Police.
On Dec. 22, Coy shot and killed Hill, who was stepping out of an open garage door as Columbus police officers approached him. Hill was holding up his illuminated cell phone and was shot by Coy a few seconds later. None of the officers present administered aid to stop Hill’s bleeding.
As Hill’s body crumpled on the floor in his last few minutes of life, Coy ordered Hill, “Don’t move dude.”
The body camera footage of the incident shows that Coy shot Hill, did not activate his body-worn camera when he responded to a call, did not render aid to Hill, and that he turned his camera on after shooting Hill. The body camera had a look-back feature that captured the 60 seconds prior to the camera being turned on.
Pettus made sure to distance the Columbus Division of Police from Coy’s acts by saying, “The actions of Adam Coy do not live up to the oath of a Columbus Police officer, or the standards we, and the community, demand of our officers.”
Pettus emphasized the violent acts Coy committed against an innocent person by stating, “Known facts do not establish that this use of deadly force was objectively reasonable. You failed to de-escalate, and failed to render aid.”
A candlelight vigil was held in honor of Hill the day after Christmas, on Saturday, Dec. 26. Hill’s friends and family celebrated his life and mourned his absence.
Hill’s daughter, Karissa, said she lost one of her most important confidantes. She reminisced her time with her father by saying that “my dad was my best friend. He was my protector and my provider. Big daddy meant a lot in my home, to my kids and to me.”
Karissa wasn’t the only person that Hill had a positive impact on. Hill and his sister Shawna grew up together. Shawna fondly remembered her brother by saying, “Andre was a great person and a friendly brother. He always had my back. And he was especially a great father to his only daughter.”
Hill’s death at the hands of Coy will have long-term consequences for his family. The anti-racist movement aims to prevent these police brutality cases by addressing systemic racism.
Unfortunately for the anti-racist movement, this small win can be short-lived, since there is still a possibility that Coy could rejoin the force.
According to NPR member station WOSU, “Even if an officer is fired, it is still possible that they could be reinstated through union arbitration. Columbus’ police union contract gives officers the right to appeal any disciplinary decision.
“A 2017 investigation by WOSU found that, in the previous decade, Columbus Police fired 14 officers and rehired three of those officers after appeals from the FOP.”
Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation will continue to put Coy under criminal investigation. The case will also be reviewed by US Attorney David DeVillers’s office for any violations of federal civil rights laws.
Jose graduated from UC Davis with a BA in Political Science and has interned for the California State Legislature. He is from Rocklin, CA.
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