An Ohio police chief is recommending the firing of a Columbus officer who fatally shot Andre Maurice Hill, a 47-year-old Black man, early Tuesday.
Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan said on Thursday the department filed two charges alleging critical misconduct by officer Adam Coy, a 19-year veteran of the force who was placed on paid administrative leave. The charges are not criminal in nature and only apply to Coy’s employment review.
“I witnessed his critical misconduct firsthand via his body-worn camera. I have seen everything I need to see to reach the conclusion that Officer Coy must be terminated, immediately,” Quinlan said in a Christmas Eve video statement. “This violation cost an innocent man his life.”
Quinlain said officers who are charged typically undergo a hearing before any wrongdoing or discipline is determined, but the severity of Coy’s actions overrode that step.
Ned Pettus Jr., director of the state’s department of public safety, will make the final call on Monday about the police chief’s recommendation of termination, according to Quinlan.
The announcement came shortly after outgoing Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien appointed Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost as special prosecutor in Hill’s case — a day after body camera footage of the deadly encounter was released, and the same day demonstrators demanded justice outside the home where Hill was killed.
O’Brien, a Republican who has held the position since 1997, lost re-election in November to Gary Tyack, a Democrat who is scheduled to take office in 2021.
The union representing Columbus officers, the Fraternal Order of Police, released a statement on Thursday urging calm until the investigations into the shooting are complete. While the statement did not mention Coy by name, it did say "every citizen including officers deserves due process."
Hill was standing in an open garage at a home where he was a guest at approximately 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, police said.
The body camera video shows Coy using his flashlight as he and another officer walked up the driveway toward Hill. Hill can be seen walking toward the officers with a cellphone in his left hand when Coy opened fire.
Hill’s right hand could not be seen clearly, but police said no weapon was recovered at the scene.
Video later showed Hill lying on the ground for several minutes without any officers rendering medical assistance.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther demanded Coy’s firing on Wednesday for not turning on his body camera sooner and not immediately offering medical assistance, calling the fatal shooting a “stunning disregard for life.”
Yost's office, which also oversees the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, is leading the investigation on Hill's death.
Quinlan extended his condolences to Hill’s family.
“I cannot fathom the pain Andre Hill’s family is feeling right now. He was taken from them by violence. Preventable violence. Senseless violence,” he said. “This didn’t have to happen, and it never should have.”