Columbus police officer who shot unarmed black man has previous complaints

Bethany Bruner, Megan Henry and Dean Narciso
| Columbus dispatch

Columbus police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black man on the city’s Northwest Side on Tuesday has a history of complaints and problems with excessive force.

Adam Coy, 44, has been a Columbus police officer since July 2001.

Early Tuesday morning, Coy shot 47-year-old Andre Maurice Hill and killed in a 1000-block home in Oberlin Drive he was visiting, police said.

Hill was shot by Coy after officers responded to a non-emergency complaint from a neighbor at 6 p.m. 1:37 a.m. Tuesday about a person sitting in an SUV turning the engine on and off repeatedly, police said.

According to previous reports from The Dispatch, Coy had filed nine complaints against him in 2003, four of which came within a one-month period. Coy received written advice, The Dispatch reported at the time.

Read more: What we know about the deadly shooting of a black man early Tuesday by Columbus police

In 2012, the city paid a $ 45,000 settlement to a man whom Coy had stopped for drunk driving one morning at 6 p.m.

According to reports from The Dispatch, a cross camera showed that Coy “knocked the driver’s head into the bonnet four times during the arrest.” His actions were considered “excessive for the situation.”

Coy was suspended for 160 hours for this incident.

Police said Coy has been released from duty pending the outcome of Tuesday’s shooting investigation. The shipment has requested a copy of Coy’s latest personnel file from the police division.

Coy could not be reached for comment Wednesday. His two-story home in Union County is decorated for Christmas, but now has a store-bought “No Trespassing” sign attached to the front door. Neighbors did not respond to knocks on their doors by The Dispatch, and the only nearby neighbor outside shot a reporter away.

Mayor Andrew J. Ginther said at a news conference Tuesday that neither Coy nor another officer, who responded but did not fire a weapon, turned on their body cameras until after the shooting had taken place.

The body cameras have a 60-second “look-back” function that records video but not audio. This flashback recorded the recording, indicating that the officers turned on the cameras within 60 seconds of the recording taking place.

Ginther and Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan are furious because the divisional camera camera division, which was a $ 5 million investment from the city, requires officers to have the cameras on “when dispatched or by a self-initiated response to a priority 1 or 2 call for service. ”

The disturbance complaint on Tuesday morning was forwarded through the division’s non-emergency telephone line. Interruptions are typically sent as “Priority 3” – or “get to them as soon as you can get to them” – calls, as was the case with the call Tuesday morning.

Division policy for “Priority 3” calls was not listed online, but division policy says officers must activate their body cameras when calls that are not for service become “enforcement actions” or become adversarial. The camera must be turned on “at the start of an enforcement action or at the first reasonable opportunity to do so”, the policy states.

The film camera footage shows Coy and the other officer who have not been identified also delayed providing medical care to Hill after the shooting, the city said in a statement from the Department of Public Safety released Tuesday afternoon.

The division’s policy states that all sworn personnel are obliged to provide “appropriate assistance and / or call for emergency medical services … as soon as it is reasonable and safe to do so.”

Films from the camera body were released Wednesday afternoon after Hill’s the family saw it privately.

The more than 13-minute video captures officers coming out of their cruisers and walking up the driveway to the open garage door at Oberlin Drive home. Hill turns his back on the police. He turns around and takes four steps toward the officers with his cell phone up in his left hand and his right hand in the pocket of a winter coat.

Coy then shoots Hill and approaches him. The sound is now on, Coy asks Hill to roll over and says he can’t see his right hand. Coy then asks if a medic is coming.

According to the video, at least six minutes pass before Hill is assisted. Coy provides no first aid, and in the intervening minutes, criminal tapes are placed around the site and several officers arrive.

No weapon was recovered on the scene, and the video shows what appears to be a set of keys located next to Hill near where his right hand was.

It is unclear when assistance was provided to Hill as Coy’s body camera turns away from the driveway and garage area.

Hill was taken by paramedics to OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, where he

John DiLoretto, whose bedroom overlooks the Oberlin Drive home in the Cranbrook neighborhood where Hill was killed shot, said he was awakened to the sound of an angry exchange of words outside across the street.

He said he looked and could see people, but could not figure out who. He decided to go out and see what was going on.

“As I walked down the stairs, I heard the shots – bam, bam, bam,” he said. DiLoretto said two or three shots were fired.

He went back upstairs and looked out. At the time, he said police were trying to resuscitate a man lying on his back, parallel to the entrance to the open garage door.

A nearby neighbor who did not want to be named told The Dispatch that the home on Oberlin Drive, where the shooting took place, is owned by Bill Wadley, a former Ohio State University swim coach whose adult niece lives with him.

The neighbor said Wadley told her his niece had expected one of her acquaintances to hand over money early Tuesday so she could buy Christmas presents for her children. She said she knew no more about who the man was or his relationship with the niece.

A memorial consisting of a series of lit candles stood on the sidewalk next to Wadley’s home. No one answered the front door of a Dispatch reporter.

“You feel devastated that someone died in your neighborhood, as he did,” the neighbor said. “We have to remember that this was a human being who died.”

DiLoretto, a former TV personality for WSYX (Channel 6), has been renting his home since March. He said the neighborhood has been quiet and safe, even as homicides in the city have increased.

“People do not surprise me anymore,” he said of the gun violence that has led to a record number of homicides in Columbus this year. “Things happen all the time.”

Ginther said Tuesday that he asked Quinlan to release Coy from duty, the division period for a suspension, as a result of the hearing. Quinlan later issued an update to the statement stating that Coy was asked to hand over his badge and firearms and he will have no police officers pending the outcome of the investigation conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation in accordance with city policy. adopted this summer.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, whose BCI agents are investigating the shooting, said in a statement Wednesday that “BCI will conduct a complete, independent and expert investigation – a search for the truth … Only the truth – the whole truth and nothing else – will result in Justice. “

Yost said “any use of deadly force is serious and the loss of life is a cause for grief.”

Community leaders and activists expressed anger and frustration over the shooting of the unarmed black man.

“We were furious,” said Nana Watson, the local NAACP chapter president. “It’s another sad day in society.”

Read more: New prosecutor in Franklin County likely means change in the handling of police shootings

“Why do we have body cameras if they do not turn on?” Asked Watson. “It raises the question when you do not have the body camera turned on and something similar happens, what is the penalty for not having it turned on?”

Policies around the use of police body cameras need to be examined carefully, Watson said.

“We need an explanation for why this happened,” she said. “Police must be enforced for their actions.”

Stephanie Hightower, president and CEO of Columbus’ Urban League, said Tuesday is “a turning point in a terrible story that never seems to end.”

“Together we must ask ourselves: How many? How many more black people must die at the hands of those we trust to protect us?” she said. “How many more families have to grieve over a devastating loss while enduring endless questions and judgments about the behavior of their loved ones? How many more mothers do not sleep at night worrying that their child may look like a refugee to a person with a gun and a badge? How many more black men will be detained because ‘they look like someone who may have an outstanding order?’

State Senators Hearcel Craig and Erica Crawley, both Democrats from Columbus, issued a joint statement Wednesday, saying they were devastated and frustrated by Tuesday’s events.

“We do not know how much you can change the hearts and minds of individuals who will continue to see black people as a threat,” they said. “You can’t train that fear and hatred away. There’s something deeply wrong in the Columbus Police Department, and there must be an answer.”

The pair of lawmakers noted that “many members” of the police division “honor their positions with integrity and responsibility.”

“The blatant and malicious actions of those who abuse their authority and public trust must be punished swiftly and deliberately,” they said. “The status quo is not working for our society, and the newly developed Civilian Audit Committee needs to be activated and fully involved to ensure that justice is served.”

Columbus City Council said in a joint news release that council members “are out frustrated by this senseless death.”

“The complex heartache of learning an unarmed black man was killed yesterday by a Columbus police officer is indescribable,” the release said. “Thoughts and prayers can not soothe this pain.”

Tuesday morning, 18 days after 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr. shot. was shot dead outside his home country of Northland by Sheriff’s Franklin County Sheriff Jason Meade. A funeral service was held Wednesday for Goodson.

“I do not know how much more this city can take,” Watson said. “(This month) has been filled with anger, sadness and disappointment at law enforcement to defend and protect.”

The American rep. Joyce Beatty called the shooting Tuesday morning “unacceptable.”

“There are not enough words to express pain and anger. “I feel like another black man has been killed in our community by the police in less than a month,” she said in a statement. “I am very concerned and question the police procedures as well as the timing and the inconsistent use of body cameras.”

Read more: Faith leaders are angry over Casey Goodson shootings, handling hot potato

Bishop Timothy Clarke, senior pastor at God’s First Church on the southeast side, said Columbus is currently at a crossroads.

“I truly believe that the core of it all is suspicion and fear caused by years of misinformation,” Clarke said. “It is very sad.”

He said it is up to the city’s leaders and its citizens to decide where Columbus goes from here.

Yost urged anyone with information about Tuesday’s fatal shooting of Hill to call BCI on 855-BCI-OHIO (855-224-6446).

Shipping Reporter Holly Zachariah contributed to this report.

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