Columbus, OH — Columbus police officer Adam Coy has been relieved of duty this week after shooting an apparently innocent and unarmed man who was holding nothing but a phone. Though the shooting happened on Tuesday, the body camera footage was quietly released on Christmas eve and hasn’t received as much coverage as it should.
Despite the glaring evidence against him, Coy has yet to face a single criminal charge for killing 47-year-old Andre Hill, who was inside a garage and an expected guest at that home where he was killed. This lack of charges is in spite of the chief of police pointing out the fact that Coy killed an innocent man.
“I have seen everything I need to see to reach that conclusion that Officer Coy must be terminated, immediately,” Chief Thomas Quinlan said. “We have an officer who violated his oath to comply with the rules and policies of the Columbus Division of Police. And the consequences of that violation are so great, it requires immediate action. This violation cost an innocent man his life.”
According to police, they received a call Tuesday evening, which they referred to as a “non-emergency call,” about a man sitting in a car. According to police, the caller said the man was turning the car on and off — which never warrants a call to the police and shouldn’t even warrant a response — as he could’ve simply been working on his car.
Police responded anyway. According to police, the man in question, who turned out to be Hill, was visiting a relative at the home and when they arrived, he walked toward them holding his phone. None of the responding officers had activated their body cameras.
According to police, as they walked toward the man, he walked toward them with his cellphone in his hand. At this point, one officer fired his weapon, striking Hill in the chest. As the video shows, after shooting the innocent man, no one rendered aid. Instead Coy yelled at Hill to stretch out his arms.
Only after Coy shot Hill — who had not been accused of any crime — did the officers turn on their body cameras. The body cameras used by the cops have a constant recording which buffers a 60-second clip with no sound, even when the cameras are not activated. Because the officer killed the man almost immediately after arriving, the shooting was captured on video.
The look-back function, known as “buffering,” is a common technology on body cameras and is meant to address this exact situation, Charles Katz, an Arizona State University criminal justice professor told CBS.
Although the cameras’ video is perpetually running, they only begin recording once they’re activated, saving whatever they’re set to, such as 30 seconds or a minute, Katz said.
“In a technical sense it’s always recording but it’s not saved until it’s activated, and then it only saves the prior 60 seconds,” Katz said.
In the body camera video, “the man walked toward the officer with a cellphone in his left hand,” police said. “His right hand was not visible.”
Because the buffer doesn’t record sound, we do not know what was said by any party before the officer opened fire. However, we do know that no one rendered aid immediately after they killed this man.
Body camera footage from immediately after the shooting indicated “a delay in rendering of first-aid to the man,” the public safety department said in a news release.
Coy’s partner, an unnamed female officer, also refused to provide life saving aid to Hill. Instead, she responded by putting up police tape and getting Coy “support.”
Hill laid on the ground bleeding out for several minutes with absolutely no help. It was not until a medical unit arrived that Hill received any help. As the video shows, that emergency responder ran past the two inept and killer cops and provided aid to Hill. Unfortunately it was too little too late.
“This is a tragedy on many levels,” Quinlan said in a statement. “Most importantly, a life has been lost.”
Quinlan said in a press conference that he immediately suspended the officer, forcing him to turn in his badge and gun and suspended his police powers pending an internal review. He then went on to lambast the officers for failing to turn on their cameras.
However, Hill has yet to be fired or charged. On Monday, he is expected to go before a board where he will plead his case as to why he should keep his job.