Friday, May 14, 2021
Today, it was announced that "[t]he city of Columbus, Ohio, has agreed to pay a record $10 million settlement to the family Andre Hill, a Black man who was shot and killed by a police officer." If approved on Monday, the settlement would represent the highest amount the city has ever agreed to pay.
Police officer Adam Coy
fatally shot Hill, 47, within seconds of their encounter as Hill walked toward Coy holding an illuminated cell phone in his left hand, body camera footage showed. Hill was unarmed.Coy turned his camera on after the shooting. The camera's look-back feature captured 60 seconds of video, but no audio, before Coy turned it on.The body camera footage appears to show Coy and Hill walking toward one another, and Coy starts shooting within a few seconds. It's not clear whether Hill or Coy said anything during their brief interaction because Coy did not activate his body camera.The first few seconds of Coy's body camera video in which audio is available show the officer ordering Hill to get his hands out to the side, ordering him to get on his stomach, and warning an officer to not get close because one of Hill's arms is under the car where he collapsed after being shot.About 37 seconds after the shooting, Coy asked whether a medic was coming. A report prepared by the Columbus police chief after the shooting said an officer who responded with Coy said she heard Coy say he saw a gun, and that Coy yelled, "There's a gun in his other hand, there's a gun in his other hand!"
I was proud to provide pro bono assistance on the case along with my University of South Carolina law students A.C. Parham and Jasmsine Caruthers. Among other things, we prepared a report analyzing settlements in similar cases involving police officers shooting civilians based upon a mistaken belief that they were wielding firearms,.