Columbus settles for $10m with family of Black man shot by police for holding cell phone

It’s the largest settlement in city history

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Sunday 16 May 2021 14:07
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City of Columbus release body camera footage of police shooting Andre Hill

The city of Columbus, Ohio, on Friday announced a $10m settlement with the family of Andre Hill, an unarmed Black man shot by a white officer in December as he walked out of a garage holding a cell phone.

“Now all those involved can begin to heal,” lawyers for Mr Hill’s family said in a statement to the AP.

The settlement, the latest in a string of high-profile agreements with families who’ve lost loved ones to police killings, is the largest in the city’s history.

“No amount of money will ever bring Andre Hill back to his family, but we believe this is an important and necessary step in the right direction,” Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said in a statement.

Adam Coy, a white former Columbus police officer, shot Mr Hill, 47, last December, as he emerged from a dark garage holding a lit-up cell phone. Mr Coy, who had been in the area responding to a non-emergency complaint about a car starting and stopping, reportedly believed Mr Hill had a weapon, though he was unarmed.

Police body camera footage showed Mr Coy walking up to Mr Hill, who walks calmly toward the officer with a clearly lit cell phone in his hand.

The officer was fired later that month for not giving medical aid to Mr Hill, who lay on the ground for minutes before officers helped him, and for not fully activating his police body cam. (The shooting was only captured because of a 60-second “look back” function with no sound).

The shooting is the subject of investigations from the Columbus police, Ohio attorney general, US attorney for central Ohio, and FBI. Mr Coy was charged in February with murder and assault, and reckless homicide charges were added in April, to which he has plead not guilty.

The settlement goes to a full city council vote on 17 May.

Columbus police are under renewed scrutiny for how white officers treat Black people, after the 20 April shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old girl.

Even with a spate of historic settlements in recent years with families affected by police violence, including a $27m agreement between Minneapolis and the family of George Floyd earlier this year, police have continued to kill more than 1,000 Americans each yeah for nearly the last decade, a rate that looks unchanged so far this year.

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