The city of Columbus, Ohio, will pay a $10 million settlement to the family of Andre Hill, a Black man who was fatally shot by a police officer.
The city council voted Monday to approve the largest settlement in the city’s history, Criminal Justice & Judiciary Council Chair Shayla Favor said.
“We cannot afford to continue in this manner,” Favor said Monday night. “I hope that this is the last time we will see something like this come before us.”
Hill was shot and killed on December 22 while officer Adam Coy — who now faces murder charges — and another officer were responding to a report of a man who had been sitting in his SUV for an extended period, repeatedly turning his engine on and off.
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.
“This settlement tonight is a small step towards justice for the family of Andre Hill. Although it doesn’t bring him back to his family, I do pray that it offers some solace during this extremely difficult time,” Favor said. “Tonight I want our community to know that this council has stepped up to the critical task of reform before us though our reimagining public safety work.”
As part of the settlement, the city has agreed to rename a municipal gym after Hill.
After City Attorney Zach Klein announced the settlement Friday, Hill’s daughter said she wants to see her father’s face painted on a wall in the gym and community center that will now bare his name.
“It’s one step but it’s not full justice,” Karissa Hill told reporters while holding her 3-year-old daughter. “It doesn’t take the scar off of our hearts that we still have from my dad not being here.”
“You guys all have to remember how my dad died. He died on a 311 call, a non-emergency,” she added. “He was shot four times and after the four times he was laying on the floor. There were 22 officers on the scene. Nobody helped my father. The money is not even enough to help (with) the pain or anything of my dad laying on that floor.”
Klein said Friday that he understands the Hill family will never be whole and money will not bring him back, but that the settlement is an important step in the right direction.
Charges filed after the shooting
Coy was fired in December as a result of the shooting, and last month prosecutors filed an additional reckless murder charge against him, court records show.
Coy was previously indicted in February on charges of murder in the commission of a felony, felonious assault and two counts of dereliction of duty related to Hill’s death. He pleaded not guilty to those charges.
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!”
Columbus officials were critical of how officers handled rendering aid to Hill.
Family attorney Ben Crump said in December that Hill was visiting a family friend at the home where he was killed.
In a statement, the Hill family and their legal team, led by Crump, thanked the city and its leaders “for doing the right thing” in agreeing to the settlement and the renaming of the gym.
“Now all those involved can begin to heal,” the statement said.