COLUMBUS, Ohio — Former Columbus police officer Adam Coy reportedly said Andre Hill was holding a gun before he fatally shot Hill. That's according to Officer Amy Detweiler who also responded to the call and told investigators, documents released Tuesday morning confirmed.
Officials released more than a dozen pages of documents that offer the first insight into what was said by Coy before he opened fire. The documents were submitted by Chief of Police Thomas Quinlan to Columbus Department Public Safety Director Ned Pettus Jr. on Dec. 26 ahead of Coy's disciplinary hearing on Monday.
The documents included summaries of Detweiler's interview with investigators. Detweiler said she and Coy responded to a non-emergency call of a vehicle starting and turning off around 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 22. After noticing Hill in the garage, Coy ordered him to exit the garage. Authorities confirmed that Hill committed no crime and was unarmed.
Detweiler told investigators Hill did not say anything, but did comply with Coy's orders before he was shot, according to the documents. Detweiler told investigators Hill held a cellphone in his left hand, but his right side was concealed as he walked behind a vehicle. That's when Coy claimed Hill had a weapon in his right hand.
"There's a gun in his other hand. There's a gun in his other hand," Coy said, according to Detweiler's comments to investigators in the documents.
A weapon was not recovered at the scene, and Detweiler told investigators she did not see a weapon.
According to the documents, Quinlan stated the investigation found that there's no reasoning for Coy's "deadly use of force."
"His approach was flawed, his communications lacking, and his actions dire," Quinlan wrote.
Also in the documents, Quinlan stated there is sufficient evidence to recommend Coy's dismissal. He said the 19-year veteran of the force had been trained extensively on legal requirements, including tactics to deescalate, and acknowledged every police rule of conduct and division directive through electronic signature. Quinlan also stated that Coy had been previously put on performance improvement plans.
"Officer Coy has been counseled, trained and mentored perhaps more than any other officer on use of audio and video recording equipment, use of force policy and expectation, and been subject to performance improvement plans. Officer Coy's use of force was not objectively reasonable, he did not use trained techniques, did not use his BWC properly, and did not render medical aid. Officer Coy's handling of this run is not a 'rookie' mistake as a result of negligence or inadvertence, but the decisions made and actions taken were reckless and deliberate."
The chief also referenced a letter he wrote in 2008 while he was Coy's patrol lieutenant, making the following observation:
"If sustained improvements are not fully realized a decision whether Officer Coy is salvageable must follow. Should the interventions described above not produce the desired results a shift towards termination would be warranted, as Officer Coy's service to the Division of Police will have lost all future value."
Quinlan went on to say, "Today (Dec. 26), I can state unequivocally Officer Coy has no future value to the Division of Police and should be terminated."
Coy had the opportunity to present a case in his defense at a disciplinary hearing Monday morning, but he declined that opportunity, officials said. He was terminated later that afternoon.
Pettus wrote in a statement Monday afternoon that Coy’s firing is "well-supported and appropriate." Pettus said he sustained the charges, terminating Coy effective upon the officer being notified by the department. Officials began referring to Coy as a "former officer" late Monday afternoon after he was notified.
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A 69-page Internal Affairs Bureau report released Dec. 23 shows Coy has had dozens of complaints from 2002 through 2019. He also received several compliments, commendations and awards during the same period of time, according to a 77-page personnel file that was also released Dec. 23. Authorities also released a 13-minute body cam video Tuesday that followed Coy's shooting of Hill. It shows an unresponsive Hill on the garage floor and dozens of officers responding to the scene, along with Coy's reactions following the incident. The video also shows show a delay in medical attention for Hill.
Coy's attorney, Mark Collins, gave Spectrum News the following comment in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon:
"My firm and its team is representing Adam, and we're hopeful that the BCI investigation is thorough, transparent, and fair and that the review by the Attorney General's office will be the same and it'll be in accordance with the guidelines and jurisprudence set forth by the Supreme Court decision that governs the use of force in police action, so hopefully that will be the case in this investigation.
"It's very early in this process. Normally, the investigation can take anywhere from two to six months. It depends upon the coroner's report, it depends on toxicology results, so we're just at step one of this process, and we intend to hopefully make sure that it's a fair process and then we'll weigh our options towards the end of the process.
"It'll probably be a week or two before I have more information."
Spectrum News called Coy on Tuesday, but there was no response.
The Franklin County Coroner released the results of a preliminary autopsy Monday morning. The report said Hill's cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds and a full report was expected in 12 to 14 weeks. This is the second fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man in Columbus in December.