COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The white Ohio police officer charged with murder in the December shooting death of Andre Hill, a Black man, is set to appear virtually Friday in court, where his attorney says he will plead not guilty.
Former Columbus Police Officer Adam Coy was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday following a monthlong investigation by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office into the fatal shooting of Hill, 47, on Dec. 22.
“In this case, the citizens of Franklin County, represented by the individual grand jurors, found probable cause to believe that Mr. Coy committed a crime when he killed Andre Hill by gunfire,” Attorney General Dave Yost said at a news conference Wednesday night.
He added, “Truth is the best friend of justice, and the grand jury here found the truth. Andre Hill should not be dead.”
The charges faced by Coy, a 19-year member of the force, also include failure to use his body camera and failure to tell the other officer he believed Hill presented a danger. Bodycam footage of the confrontation shows Hill emerging from a garage holding a cellphone with his left hand and his right hand not visible, before being shot by Coy. No weapon was found at the scene.
While Hill’s family welcomed the news of Coy’s indictment, data shows and experts conclude that Yost and the prosecution team will face a hard battle to secure a conviction.
Only 46% of cases of on-duty police shootings in which murder or manslaughter charges were brought over the past 16 years ended up in convictions, according to data compiled by Philip Stinson, a criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.
The overall rate for murder convictions among the general population is about 70%, according to U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics data.
Coy’s attorney, Mark Collins, has already signaled a possible defense for their case. On Wednesday, he said Coy will fight the charges based on U.S. Supreme Court case law that examines such use of force incidents through the eyes of a “reasonable police officer.”
Collins added that his client has fully cooperated with investigators up until this point and “honestly believed that he saw a silver revolver coming up in the right hand of the individual.”
Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.
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