(Reuters) – A white police officer in Columbus, Ohio, was fired on Monday for fatally shooting an unarmed Black man last week in what the city’s police chief deemed an “unreasonable use of deadly force,” the city’s public safety director said.
The dismissal of Adam Coy, a 19-year veteran of the Columbus police force, followed the recommendation of Chief Thomas Quinlan, who concluded that Andre Maurice Hill, 47, was the victim of an act of “senseless violence” when he was gunned down last Tuesday.
Hill was shot to death in the garage of a house where he had been staying as a guest in Ohio’s capital.
“The actions of Adam Coy do not live up to the oath of a Columbus police officer, or the standards we, and the community, demand of our officers,” Ned Pettus, the city’s public safety director, wrote in a statement announcing his decision.
Pettus’ decision capped a disciplinary hearing that came three days after Quinlan concluded his own expedited review, finding that Coy had engaged in “critical misconduct” that should cost him his job.
A separate state-level criminal probe of the shooting is ongoing.
In addition to calling the shooting “an unreasonable use of deadly force,” Quinlan faulted Coy for failing to immediately render medical aid to Hill after he was shot and for not activating his body-worn camera at the outset of the confrontation.
The shooting came after neighbors placed a non-emergency call to police in the early hours of Dec. 22 to complain that someone was repeatedly turning a car on and off in the middle of the night, authorities said.
Footage from Coy’s body camera showed Hill emerging from the shadows of the garage holding up a glowing cellphone in one hand before the officer opened fire.
Hill’s other hand was obscured from sight, according to the initial police report, but no weapon was ever recovered.
Although neither Coy nor a second officer on the scene activated their bodycams until just after shots were fired, the moments before and during the shooting were captured on video without sound by way of an automatic 60-second “look-back” function.
Once the audio comes on, Coy is heard shouting at Hill to make his hands visible and roll onto his stomach as Hill lies moaning on the ground beside the car.
His death marked the second fatal shooting of an African American man in a month by Columbus law enforcement officers under questionable circumstances.
Casey Christopher Goodson, 23, was shot dead outside his home on Dec. 4 by a Franklin County sheriff’s deputy assigned to a team of U.S. marshals searching for a fugitive in Goodson’s neighborhood, authorities said.
(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Leslie Adler, Stephen Coates and Richard Chang)