Body camera footage released Wednesday shows a Columbus, Ohio, police officer fatally shooting an unarmed Black man in a garage within seconds of their encounter.
Officer Adam Coy was stripped of his badge and gun after killing Andre Maurice Hill, 47, who was walking toward the officer with a cell phone in his left hand and his right hand not visible when Coy opened fire, authorities said.
The officer had been responding to a non-emergency disturbance call from a neighbor, according to the Columbus Department of Public Safety.
The shooting is the latest involving law enforcement in Columbus, where less than three weeks ago another Black man, Casey Goodson Jr., was fatally shot by a Franklin County sheriff’s deputy. The December 4 shooting is the subject of a joint criminal civil rights investigation.
Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, hours after attending Goodson’s funeral, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther called for Coy to be fired. Ginther said Hill was an expected guest at the home where he was shot and he “had committed no crime.”
AG commits to ‘search for the truth’
Authorities are in the beginning stages of an investigation that has been turned over to the Ohio attorney general and the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
In a statement Wednesday, Attorney General Dave Yost said investigators “will conduct a complete, independent and expert investigation – a search for the truth.”
“What we have now is an incomplete record,” Yost said. “We must allow the record to be completed and the evidence to be gathered. Only the truth – the whole truth and nothing else – will result in justice.”
Coy and another officer who responded to the call were equipped with body cameras but did not turn them on until after the shooting, according to the Department of Public Safety. A function of the body-worn cameras’ technology used by Columbus police provides a 60-second look back but records no audio during that period, so any conversation before or during the shooting is not heard.
When the officer turns his camera on, he can be heard shouting commands at Hill, who was laying on the ground and groaning in distress.
“After further review of the incident, today, I’m calling for the immediate termination of Coy … who failed on two directives: not turning on his body-worn camera, and failure to offer aid after the shooting and not rendering aid,” Ginther said.
In all, Ginther said investigators have several minutes – “five, maybe seven or eight” minutes – of footage on the body-worn camera. He said Hill’s family reviewed the footage.
Ginther said he had “never seen such body-worn camera footage like that, where literally no attempt to revive and aid this man, who had committed no crime and was dying.”
No weapon was recovered
In a statement released by the Department of Public Safety, Columbus police Chief Thomas Quinlan said he was “troubled by the preliminary facts.” Coy has been “relieved of duty” while under investigation.
Columbus Director of Public Safety Ned Pettus said that, by law, Coy is a public employee and entitled to due process. CNN has reached out to the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9, which represents the officer.
Coy responded to the call shortly after 1:37 a.m., after the unidentified neighbor who called 911 reported that a man had been sitting in his SUV for an extended period, repeatedly turning his engine on and off.
When police arrived at the home on the city’s northwest side, they found a garage door open and a man inside, city officials said.
The body camera footage captured from the 60-second look back shows a flashlight illuminating Hill, who walks alongside a car toward the officer, cell phone in his left hand and his right hand not visible.
The officer, within seconds, backs off before firing his weapon, striking Hill. When the audio comes on, Coy is heard ordering Hill to put his hands out to the side.
Hill died at the hospital just before 2:30 a.m. No weapon was recovered at the scene.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Hill’s family, emphasized in a statement late Wednesday that Hill had only a cell phone in his hand at the time he was fatally shot.
“As 2020 comes to a close, with the tragic succession of officer-involved shootings that gave rise to so many unforgettable hashtags, we are presented with another compelling example of why police reforms and a national standard for police behavior is so desperately needed,” Crump said.
“We will not stop until we get justice for Andre.”