Hours after ordering the city’s police chief to fire the officer on Tuesday, Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther (D) announced the officer had been suspended for the “unacceptable” action of not turning on the body camera before the fatal shooting, which is being investigated by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
“Our community is exhausted,” Ginther said in a news conference.
Although the body camera was not turned on at the time of the incident, the shooting was captured thanks to the 60-second “look back” function on the device that records video but not audio, police said. In a news release, the Columbus Division of Police said the footage showed “a delay in rendering of first-aid to the man.” The body-cam video is expected to be released Wednesday after Hill’s family has been notified, Ginther said.
“It is unacceptable to me and the community that the officers did not turn on their camera,” Ginther said at a news conference. “Let me be clear: If you’re not going to turn on your body-worn camera, you cannot serve and protect the people of Columbus.”
Police Chief Thomas Quinlan said the fatal shooting was “a tragedy on many levels” and vowed to “provide as much transparency as possible” throughout the investigation.
“Our community deserves the facts,” Quinlan said in a news release. “If evidence determines that laws or policies were violated, officers will be held accountable.”
Coy, a 19-year veteran of the force, will be paid during the investigation, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
Police were dispatched around 1:37 a.m. Tuesday for a “non-emergency” disturbance call from a neighbor, according to a news release from the Columbus Department of Public Safety. The complaint was in regard to the noises of an SUV running on and off.
“There was a car parked out here, all night long running, and I was kind of concerned about that,” neighbor Bob Ronker told WSYX. “You don’t have things like that in this neighborhood.”
Two officers arrived to find the garage door of the home was open, with Hill inside, officials said. At that point, Hill approached police with his cellphone in his left hand and his right hand in his pocket, according to a review by the city’s Department of Public Safety of body-cam footage from an officer on site.
Then Coy fired the gun, striking the 47-year-old. Police confirmed Hill was unarmed, saying they did not recover a weapon at the scene. Less than an hour later, Hill was pronounced dead at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.
The fatal shooting Tuesday comes at a raw time for a city still protesting the fatal shooting of Goodson. Relatives say the 23-year-old Black man was entering his grandmother’s home carrying Subway sandwiches when a sheriff’s deputy shot him on Dec. 4. The lawyer for Jason Meade — the deputy who has been placed on administrative leave while the incident is under investigation — said Goodson had pointed a gun at the officer.
Goodson’s death has sparked widespread criticism from Columbus residents who have questioned an investigation that they claim is lacking in transparency. As in Tuesday’s fatal shooting, Goodson was not suspected of a crime and there was no body-cam footage of his death.
On Tuesday night, protesters gathered outside of the Ohio Statehouse to demonstrate their displeasure over the latest fatal shooting of a Black man in the city. Wearing a gray hoodie emblazoned with Goodson’s face, local activist Joshua Williams expressed outrage that another police-related fatal shooting happened while Columbus was still mourning another one.
“We just got done marching for Casey and we’ve been doing this all summer,” Williams said to WSYX. “It’s unbelievable.”