A Franklin County grand jury has indicted Columbus Police Officer Adam Coy on a murder charge after a bodycam video shows Coy opening fire and killing Andre Hill, who was unarmed while standing in his friend’s garage on Dec. 22, according to the Associated Press.
Coy is also facing charges for murder, felonious assault, and two counts of dereliction of duty related to his failure to use his body camera and failure to tell the other officer he believed Hill presented a danger, local news outlet ABC6 reported.
“In this case, the citizens of Franklin County, represented by the individual grand jurors, found probable cause to believe that Mr. Coy committed a crime when he killed Andre Hill by gunfire. Truth is the best friend of justice, and the grand jury here found the truth,” Attorney General Dave Yost said on Wednesday night during a press conference.
“Andre Hill should not be dead,” Yost added.
Coy was arrested by police on Wednesday, while he was at his lawyer’s office, CNN reported.
It’s important “to start holding these officers accountable for their bad actions and their bad acts,” Michael Wright, an attorney for Hill’s family, said.
“I think it will go a long way for one, the public to trust law enforcement, for two, to potentially change the behavior of officers and their interaction with individuals that shouldn’t be killed or should not endure excessive force,” Wright said.
Harrowing bodycam footage of the incident caused outrage in December, showing Coy responding to a non-emergency call from a neighbor who said he heard a car revving its engine late into the night.
Coy arrived and immediately opened fire four times on 47-year-old Hill, who had a smartphone in his hand and was working in the garage of a family friend. As Hill writhed on the ground bleeding to death, Coy did nothing, simply standing around and waiting until other officers arrived.
Hill was handcuffed by two other officers as he bled on the ground. None of them provided any first aid to Hill.
Coy was eventually fired for not helping Hill after shooting him, and it was later revealed that he had dozens of complaints filed against him throughout his 19 years on the Columbus Police force.
Lawyers for Coy told the Associated Press that they plan to argue that he thought Hill’s phone was a “silver revolver” and that his perception justified his decision to kill Hill.
“The community was outraged by the killing of Andre Hill, an unarmed Black man, by law enforcement. The indictment does not lessen the pain of his tragic death for Mr. Hill’s loved ones, but it is a step towards justice. I thank the grand jury for their service,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther wrote on Twitter.
Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan stepped down last month after multiple cases involving officers killing Black men, who were doing nothing wrong. As Blavity previously reported, Casey Goodson was also shot to death by a police officer while walking into his home with sandwiches for his family.
Quinlan was facing additional backlash for Andrew Mitchell, a fired vice squad officer, who has been charged for shooting a woman during an investigation and for raping women by threatening them with arrest, according to the Associated Press.
“It became clear to me that Chief Quinlan could not successfully implement the reform and change I expect and that the community demands,” Ginther said last month, according to the Washington Post.
Earlier this week, the Columbus City Council passed “Andre’s Law,” which forces officers to activate their bodycams during any law enforcement situation and requires officers to either provide medical aid themselves or immediately call for emergency medical aid whenever they use force on a suspect. Both are things Coy did not do after shooting Hill.
“It is a very confusing feeling because part of me wants to feel happy and that there is a law for my dad. But, the other part of me wants to you know call my dad and tell him. And it is just an emotional rollercoaster,” Hill’s daughter, Karissa Hill, told WSYX.
“When they do grow up at least they can be like, ‘What was done for my big daddy?’ and at least I can explain to them, they started by a law and next is going to be an arrest,” his daughter added.