COLUMBUS, Ohio — The process to fire a Columbus police officer who fatally shot and an unarmed Black man earlier this week formally began Thursday and could be over as soon as Monday.
Officer Adam Coy was served with paperwork documenting administrative charges against him and a recommendation that he be terminated, the city’s Department of Public Safety said in a statement Thursday afternoon.
Chief Thomas Quinlan said in a statement that in an “expedited investigation” internally, he found enough evidence to sustain two departmental administrative charges.
Coy, 44, has worked in the department for 19 years. He was one of two officers who responded to a non-emergency disturbance call about a SUV.
Coy and a female officer, who has not yet been identified, arrived around 1:50 a.m. Tuesday. About 10 seconds after encountering 47-year-old Andre Hill, who was inside a garage and an expected guest at that home, Coy fired his service weapon multiple times.
Neither Coy’s nor the other officer’s body camera was on at the time. The video footage, released Wednesday, shows Coy turning on the camera nine seconds after the shooting.
The cameras have a 60-second “look-back” feature that captures video, but no audio, so the shooting was captured on video.
The administrative charges against Coy were sustained within three days of the shooting. Quinlan said he bypassed a step that typically occurs in the process — a hearing with him.
The administrative charges pertain to the “unreasonable use of force” by Coy, not turning on his body camera and not rendering aid to Hill, who was lying there for several minutes before he received assistance from other emergency responders.
“I have seen everything I need to see to reach that conclusion that Officer Coy must be terminated, immediately,” Quinlan said. “We have an officer who violated his oath to comply with the rules and policies of the Columbus Division of Police. And the consequences of that violation are so great, it requires immediate action. This violation cost an innocent man his life.”
A hearing before city Public Safety Director Ned Pettus will be held Monday morning for Pettus to hear evidence supporting Coy’s termination and evidence in defense of the officer.
Pettus is the only person within city government who has the authority to fire an officer.
Mayor Andrew Ginther on Tuesday called for the suspension of Coy, including relieving him of duty, gun and badge, then on Wednesday called for his firing. At least two city council members, including President Shannon Hardin, have called for Coy’s arrest on criminal charges.
Quinlan said in a statement that he has “spent every waking minute evaluating the facts of this horrific shooting” and was not at the two public press conferences held by Ginther on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Coy could not be reached for comment by The Dispatch. An attempt Wednesday to reach him at his Union County home was unsuccessful due to a “No Trespassing” sign posted on the front door of the home.
Coy has been in trouble before. In 2012, he was given a 160-hour suspension after banging the head of a driver he stopped for drunk driving against the hood of a car. The driver was also paid $45,000 as part of a settlement.
Coy’s personnel file also include 90 civilian complaints, the most recent of which was dated in 2012.
Quinlan said in the statement there is also an ongoing investigation into the actions of other officers who responded on Tuesday morning, undoubtedly including the female officer. She also left Hill lying at the entrance of the garage while she complied with Coy’s instruction to “get me support,” which means an officer comes and provides support to an officer involved in a traumatic event such as a shooting.
In the bodycam video, the female officer also appears to be getting crime scene tape while another emergency responder runs past Coy to the downed Hill.
The investigation into the actions of other officers could lead to departmental charges against those officers, the city’s statement said.