Adam Coy is a Columbus police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Black man before turning his body camera on. The 44-year-old Ohio cop has a history of citizen complaints accusing him of excessive use of force and policy violations, including involving not properly using his bodycam or in-car cameras. Coy has been relieved of duty pending a criminal and internal investigation, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said.
Coy is accused of fatally shooting 47-year-old Andre’ Maurice Hill, Columbus police said in a statement. Coy has been an officer with the Columbus Division of Police for 19 years, according to the statement. He was assigned to the Zone 4 evening midwatch shift before he was relived from duty, police said. Coy could not be reached for comment by Heavy and it was not immediately clear if he has hired an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Coy and another officer, who has not been identified, were responding to a non-emergency disturbance in the 1000 block of Oberlin Drive about 1:37 a.m. The resident making the noise complaint told dispatchers a man had been sitting in an SUV on his street for an extended period, turning his vehicle on and off, according to police. When Coy and the other officer arrived at the scene, they found the man, later identified as Hill, inside a garage with the door open.
Coy and the other officer did not activate their body cameras before the shooting, but the 60-second “look back” window feature on the camera did record the shooting, with no audio, police said. The bodycam video shows Hill walking toward Coy and the other officer with a cell phone in his left hand. His right hand was not visible, according to police. Coy fired his weapon, striking Hill. The victim was taken to Riverside Hospital, where he died at 2:25 a.m., police said. The video of the shooting can be. seen below.
Here’s what you need to know about Columbus Police Officer Adam Coy:
1. The Victim Was Visiting an Acquaintance at the Home Where He Was Shot & Killed, Police Say, & a Neighbor Called Police to Report Suspicious Activity
According to a police press release, the incident happened on Oberlin Drive in the northwest side of the city of Columbus. Police said in the statement, “the preliminary investigation indicates the man shot was visiting someone at the home. A weapon was not recovered at the scene. The body-worn camera also documents a delay in rendering first aid to the man.”
The Daily Beast reports the man who called police was a middle-aged white man who lives on the block where the shooting occurred. He reported an SUV was parked on the street with a man sitting inside, according to The Daily Beast.
The news site wrote, “The man, who refused to give his name, said he wanted to make it clear that he made the call because he was woken up by a car engine that the driver kept turning on and off for an extended period. The man said that before he placed the 911 call, he took note that the engine noise was that of a Chevy SUV parked on the street.”
The unidentified man told The Daily Beast, “Loud exhaust. It ran all night, then it shut off, and then it turned on again. I thought, ‘It’s been out there all night. Why’s it out there all night?’ I called 911. This neighborhood doesn’t have that kind of problem. There’s no suspicious people driving around.”
The man told The Daily Beast he went outside after calling police and when officers arrived he directed them to the SUV. He said his neighbor came out of her home and said she knew the driver of the SUV. “She said he was a friend or a relative. I said, ‘If he’s a friend, he shouldn’t be out there,'” he told the news site.
The news site says the middle class neighborhood is in a quiet area just west of Ohio State University’s campus. According to Columbus police, the shooting will be investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The BCI has not yet commented about the shooting.
2. The Columbus Police Chief Says He’s ‘Troubled’ by the Fact Coy Did Not Have His Body Camera Activated Before the Shooting
According to police, “neither officer at the scene activated their body-worn cameras until immediately after the shooting. Because of a 60-second ‘look back’ function of the cameras, the shooting itself was captured on video. However, the function does not record audio during that 60-second ‘look-back’ window, so there is no audio of the communications immediately preceding or during the actual shooting.”
Police added in a statement, “Because this was a non-emergency run lights and sirens were not engaged as officers arrived at the scene. As a result the dash camera in the police cruiser was also not activated for any part of this run.”
Chief Thomas Quinlan said in the statement he was “troubled” by what happened, saying,”The Division invested millions of dollars in these cameras for the express purpose of creating a video and audio record of these kinds of encounters. They provide transparency and accountability, and protect the public, as well as officers, when the facts are in question.”
According to the press release, “Quinlan has ordered the officer relived of duty, requiring him to turn in his badge and gun, stripping him of all police powers pending the outcome of the criminal and subsequent internal investigation.” It is not yet known if the other, so-far unidentified, officer will remain on duty. Coy will still be paid while he is relieved from duty.
3. Coy Has Dozens of Complaints Against Him, Including for Excessive Force, & Was Accused of Beating a DUI Suspect’s Head Against the Hood of a Car in 2012, Leading to a Lawsuit Settlement
Adam Coy is the Columbus police officer who murdered an unarmed black man this morning. This is from a 2015 Columbus Dispatch article titled "Are police going too far or doing their job?" pic.twitter.com/mH3ZXC8eXN
— Hanif Abdurraqib (@NifMuhammad) December 23, 2020
Coy has been the subject of dozens of citizen complaints, according to a database from maintained by WhoDoYouServe.org. The complaints date back to 2002 and include accusations of excessive force and policy violations.
Coy has been found to have used inappropriate language toward a suspect, failed to have turned on his cruiser’s video microphone system, failed to wear his microphone for the video system, failed to enforce a valid protection order and failed to report use of force.
According to our data, Officer Adam Coy has over 100 citizen complaints against him. https://t.co/DhdYTtj9ak
— Who Do You Serve? (@WhoYouServe) December 22, 2020
Coy was suspended after a 2012 incident during a traffic stop of a suspect DUI driver, according to the complaint database. He was found to have struck the driver’s head on the hood of a cruiser multiple times. According to a 2015 report by the Columbus Dispatch, that incident resulted in a $45,000 lawsuit settlement with the suspect. Coy was suspended for 160 hours.
According to the Dispatch, then-police chief Kim Jacobs told Coy during his disciplinary hearing, “To me, we have to be concerned about somebody from the outside looking in to this type of behavior. You are not allowed to use force that’s unnecessary and unreasonable. You have to control yourself.”
The newspaper reports the 3 a.m. incident was recorded on Coy’s cruiser camera. The incident was witnessed by an Ohio State University student who was watching from his porch and reported what he saw to police, according to the Dispatch.
4. Coy Is an Ohio Native Who Served in the Army Before Becoming a Columbus Police Officer
12/23/20 Update on Officer-Involved Shooting. pic.twitter.com/FTbmqkVFCT
— Columbus Department of Public Safety (@ColumbusSafety) December 23, 2020
Coy is an Ohio native who graduated from North Union High School in 1995, according to an engagement announcement from 2002. Before becoming a Columbus police officer, Coy served in the U.S. Army and was based in Texas, according to a previous engagement announcement from 1995.
On his LinkedIn profile, Coy says he studied at Central Texas College from 1995 to 1997.
5. The Fatal Shooting by Coy Comes 18 Days After Casey Goodson Jr. Was Shot by a Franklin County Deputy in Columbus
Mayor Andrew Ginther said in a statement on December 22, “This morning we learned of the killing of another Black man at the hands of law enforcement. Our community is still raw and exhausted from the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and, most recently, Casey Goodson, Jr., right here in Columbus. The officer involved did not turn on their body-worn camera — which is unacceptable.”
Ginther is referencing the December 4 fatal shooting of Goodson by Franklin County Deputy Jason Meade. In that incident, which remains under investigation, Meade was working with a U.S. Marshals’ task force to track down another person, when he encountered Goodson and shot him outside his family’s home.
Quinlan said about the Hill shooting, “This is a tragedy on many levels. Most importantly a life has been lost. That must be our focus going forward. WE know that BCI will conduct a thorough, independent investigation. We promise that we will provide as much transparency as possible on our part, both with investigators and the public. Our community deserves the. facts. If evidence determines that laws or policies were violated, officers will be held accountable.”