A veteran Ohio police officer claimed he was in fear for his life when he spotted a man holding a smartphone in his hand which is why he shot and killed him in December.
But the cop’s body camera video shows he never even gave Andre Hill a chance.
Now the cop has been charged with murder after a grand jury indicted him on Wednesday. Adam Coy, who was fired from the Columbus Police Department following the shooting, was also charged with felonious assault and dereliction of duty, the latter for not activating his camera until after the shooting.
The incident took place on December 22 after Coy and another officer were responding to a complaint from a neighbor about a suspicious S.U.V. in the neighborhood.
Hill, who was visiting friends that night, was shot inside a garage standing next to a BMW and has not been connected to the S.U.V. It doesn’t even appear as if the cops ever encountered an S.U.V. that night, not that there is anything illegal for an S.U.V. to be parked with the engine running which is what prompted the neighbor to call police.
The video shows Hill was holding a smartphone in his left hand but his right hand was not immediately visible. Coy claimed he spotted a silver gun in that hand but Hill was actually holding a keychain, according to the New York Times.
Footage of the shooting contains no audio because Coy did not turn on the camera until after the shooting but the camera has a feature where it video records the minute prior to activating the camera. Had he not turned on the body camera at all, he likely would have never been charged.
Coy, who had worked for the department for 19 years, has a history of using excessive force, according to a 2015 Columbus Dispatch article.
Columbus Police Officer Adam Coy got in trouble after a 3 a.m. drunken-driving stop in 2012. The cruiser camera showed Coy banging the driver’s head into the hood four times during the arrest, an action the internal review deemed “excessive for the situation.”
Coy had an unexpected witness that morning.
A freshman Ohio State University student up late doing homework watched the arrest from his porch and was so disturbed that he almost dialed 911. Realizing how absurd that sounded, he emailed the Police Division instead.
The system worked, division spokesman Weiner pointed out, because the student’s concern was taken seriously. That message launched an investigation that ended in a 160-hour suspension for Coy and a $45,000 city payout to the drunken driver.
Coy’s attorney, Mark Collins, plans on using the old “split-second decision” defense which has spared hundreds of cops from conviction over the years.
“Police officers have to make these split-second decisions, and they can be mistaken,” said Collins.
“If they are mistaken, as long as there’s an honest belief and that mistake is reasonable, the action is justified.”