The white Columbus, Ohio police officer who fatally shot a Black man in his garage has been charged with murder. According to the Associated Press, former officer Adam Coy, who was fired from the department in December, was indicted on murder and other charges on Wednesday (Feb. 3); a little over a month after he fatally shot 47-year-old Andre Hill.
The outlet writes that Coy was indicted on the charges by a Franklin County jury following an investigation into the incident by the Ohio Attorney General’s office. In addition to the murder charge, Coy was also indicted on two counts of felony assault and two counts of dereliction of duty.
According to his attorney, Coy will plead not guilty to the charges.
“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,” Attorney General Dave Yost said Wednesday night. “Truth is the best friend of justice and the grand jury here found the truth.”
In a statement, the union representing Columbus police officers said Coy “will have the ability to present facts on his behalf at a trial just like any other citizen. At that time, we will see all the facts for the first time with the public as the process plays out.”
As reported by REVOLT, Coy and another officer had been responding to a nonemergency call about a car parked on a road that had been turning on and off. Coy confronted Hill, who had been standing in his garage and holding a cellphone at the time, and shot him moments later. Portions of the confrontation and shooting were captured by a “look back” feature on Coy’s body camera, since his camera had been turned off.
Additional footage later showed that in the minutes after Coy had shot Hill, the officer handcuffed and left him. Neither officer administered any immediate medical assistance to Hill while he lay dying on his garage floor.
In a statement, Hill’s family said Coy’s indictment does not ease the pain of losing their loved one, but it is a step in the right direction.
“It’s important to start holding these officers accountable for their bad actions and their bad acts,” the family’s lawyer 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.”
Coy reportedly had a long history of citizen complaints. His attorney is expected to fight the murder charge based on a case law that views instances of excessive force through the eyes of a “reasonable police officer.” Using this examination, Coy’s lawyer claims the former officer “honestly believed that he saw a silver revolver” in Hill’s hand and thought his life was in danger; despite the fact that the object was actually Hill’s cellphone.
Coy’s indictment arrives almost a week after Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan was forced to resign after Mayor Andrew Ginther said the community had lost faith in him due to Hill’s death. In a statement, Ginther said Coy’s indictment “does not lessen the pain” of Hill’s killing “but it is a step towards justice.”