COLUMBUS, Ohio — The second Columbus police officer who responded to a non-emergency call with Officer Adam Coy told investigators that she did not “observe any threats from” Andre' Hill and “did not see a weapon” but could not see his right side before Coy opened fire.
Officer Amy Detweiler told investigators with the internal affairs unit of the Columbus Division of Police that Coy yelled “there’s a gun in his other hand, there’s a gun in his other hand.”
No weapon was recovered at the scene from Hill.
On Monday, the city fired Officer Adam Coy finding that the “known facts do not establish that this use of deadly force was objectively reasonable.” Coy was also admonished for failing to initially activate his body-worn camera and failing to render aid to Hill.
The shooting was captured on Coy’s body-worn camera because he activated it immediately after the shooting and a 60-second “look back” or “record-after-the-fact” feature on the body-worn camera allowed investigators and the public to see the shooting incident, even though no audio was recorded during that first minute.
Detweiler told investigators with the Columbus Division of Police internal affairs that she got to a non-emergency disturbance call after Coy had arrived but not observe any interaction between Coy and Hill.
She stated that Coy told her Hill had just moved his SUV from one location to another and proceeded to walk into a house with an open garage door.
Detweiler statements to investigators, which were released Tuesday, provide a new perspective from one of the officers on the scene.
She told investigators that both she and Coy approached the garage with their guns drawn. She explained to internal affairs investigators that she treated the incident as a suspicious person run and Hill was inside a darkened garage.
She went on to explain that Hill was not attempting to enter the residence and she was concerned why Hill was in the garage.
Detweiler told investigators that Hill gave no verbal response to Coy’s verbal command to exit the garage but that Hill complied.
According to the summary of Detweiler’s statements, she stated “Mr. Hill was walking towards her with a cell phone raised in his left hand. Officer Detweiler stated she did not observe any threats from Mr. Hill. Officer Detweiler stated that she did not observe any threats from Mr. Hill” but stated that once he reached the rear bumper of the car inside the garage he turned towards Officer Coy. She told investigators that Hill brought down his left hand.
“Officer Detweiler said she could not see Mr. Hill’s right side. Detweiler states she did not see a weapon,” the summary reads. “Officer Detweiler stated Officer Coy observed a firearm and yelled: ‘There’s a gun in his other hand, there’s a gun in his other hand!’ Officer Detweiler heard gunfire at this moment. Officer Detweiler had nothing further to add and the interview was concluded.”
The shooting of Hill, an unarmed Black man, has led to protests and vigils in a year already filled with conversations about police use of force and racial injustice.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents Hill’s family, spoke to 10 Investigates on Monday night following the news of Coy’s firing.
”We have to hold them accountable to the full extent of the law because they are worthy and deserving of equal justice. Because Andre Hill’s life matters. And we have to hold people accountable so it will deter this shoot first, ask questions later when it’s a Black person,” Crump told 10 Investigates.
When asked about the firing of Coy, Crump said: “It’s a good first step. If it was your loved one you would want him to be held fully accountable. This family never forgetting this is going to be a journey to justice and this was just the first step on that journey to justice.”
On Tuesday, the Columbus Division of Police also released additional investigatory documents related to the administrative investigation into Coy’s actions.
In the document, Police Chief Thomas Quinlan laid out the departmental charges against Coy and his reasons for sustaining the charges that sought to dismiss Coy from the division of police.
Quinlan wrote that Coy’s use of force was not objectively reasonable, he did not use trained techniques, did not use his body-worn camera properly and did not render medical aid. “Officer Coy’s handling of this run is not a ‘rookie’ mistake as a result of negligence or inadvertence, but the decisions make and actions taken were reckless and deliberate.”
Quinlan went on to write that Coy’s approach to the shooting was “flawed, his communications lacking and his actions dire.”
The chief also noted that he wrote a letter about Coy in 2008 when Quinlan acted as Coy’s patrol lieutenant. Quinlan included an excerpt in his correspondence to Public Safety Director Ned Pettus, saying about Coy:
“If sustained improvements are not fully realize a decision whether Officer Coy is salvageable must follow. Should the interventions described above not produce the desired results a shift towards termination would be warranted, as Officer Coy’s service to the Division of Police will have lost all future value.”
Quinlan concludes his correspondence to Pettus on December 26 by stating that Coy “has no future value to the Division of Police and should be terminated.”