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U.S. Attorney To Investigate Columbus Police Killing Of Andre Hill

U.S. Atty. David DeVillers (speaking) and ATF Special Agent in Charge Roland Herndon at a press conference announcing the new prosecution strategy.
Nick Evans
U.S. Atty. David DeVillers (speaking) and ATF Special Agent in Charge Roland Herndon at a press conference.

Dave DeVillers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, will review the case of a Columbus Police officer fatally shooting an unarmed Black man for possible federal civil rights violations.

The officer, identified as 19-year veteran Adam Coy, was placed on paid administrative leave for failing to activate his body-worn camera before shooting 47-year-old Andre Maurice Hill in the city's Cranbrook neighborhood. 

Officers were responding early that morning to a non-emergency call about someone sitting in a vehicle for an extended period of time. According to police, they found a man inside a garage, who "walked toward the officer with a cell phone in his left hand."

No weapon was recovered at the scene. Police also say the officers delayed giving Hill first aid – even though they were located just blocks from Riverside Hospital.

In a statement Wednesday, DeVillers said his office spoke with Mayor Andrew Ginther and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost about the case, which is being led by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

"The mayor requested that the U.S. Attorney’s Office review the investigation for possible federal civil rights violations, and after consulting with Ohio Attorney General Yost, I agreed that my office will review the case as requested once BCI’s investigation is complete," DeVillers wrote. "This office will then consult with the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office on how to proceed at the conclusion of our review.”

Yost, who oversees the BCI, says the current record of the shooting is incomplete, but his office's investigation will seek the "whole truth."

Because Coy did not turn on his body camera until after the shooting, there is no audio of his interaction with the victim. However, the cameras worn by Columbus Police contain a "look back" feature, which offers video but no sound of the 60 seconds before activation.

Columbus Police plan to release the available body camera footage, along with the name of the victim and personnel file of the officer, Wednesday at 2 p.m.

"The city works hard to provide police with the tools officers need to protect themselves and the public," Ginther said at a press conference Tuesday afternoon. "So let me be clear: If you’re not going to turn on your body worn camera, you can not protect and serve the people of Columbus. I have asked Chief Quinlan to remove the officer from duty and turn in his badge and gun.”

Coy has been stripped of his police powers pending the criminal and internal investigations.

DeVillers is also heading a combined criminal-civil rights probe into the December 4 killing of Casey Goodson Jr. by a Franklin County Sheriff's deputy. No charges have yet been announced in that case.

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.