(Reuters) – A former Ohio police officer pleaded not guilty on Friday to murder and other charges in the shooting death of an unarmed Black man, the latest in a series of killings that have raised questions of racial injustice in U.S. law enforcement.
At the hearing in Franklin County court, Judge Elizabeta Saken agreed to release the former officer, Adam Coy, a 19-year-veteran of the Columbus police force, on $3 million bail.
Coy, a 44-year-old white man, was indicted by a grand jury on Wednesday in the Dec. 22 killing of Andre Maurice Hill, 47. Coy was responding to a nuisance call about car noise.
The former officer, shackled and dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, appeared at the hearing through a video monitor from a jail where he has been held since his arrest on Wednesday.
Coy’s attorney, Mark Collins, told the court Friday that his client is not a danger to the public and is not a flight risk, emphasizing his connections to the community and family ties.
“This case is unique,” Collins said. “It is not a who-done-it, but whether or not his use of force was justified. He is not a threat, your honor.”
Coy was indicted on one charge of murder, one charge of felonious assault and two counts of dereliction of duty.
The case is the latest in a series of police killings of Black people that have highlighted longstanding accusations of racial injustice in U.S. law enforcement. Last summer, a handful of high-profile deaths in Minneapolis, Atlanta and Louisville and elsewhere triggered nationwide protests that pushed police reform to the top of the U.S. political agenda.
(Reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)