COLUMBUS, Ohio — City officials announced police reform proposals Thursday following the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black man by a Columbus officer in December.
What You Need To Know
- Andre Hill was shot and killed by former Columbus Police officer Adam Coy in December
- A new piece of legislation, “Andre’s Law,” would require officers to request EMS after any use-of-force incident resulting in severe injuries
- Officers would be required to render medical aid and activate their body-worn cameras in a timely manner
- The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating the shooting
A new piece of legislation, “Andre’s Law,” would require officers to request EMS after any use-of-force incident resulting in severe injuries. Officers would be required to render medical aid and activate their body-worn cameras in a timely manner, City Council President Shannon Harding said.
Harding joined Mayor Andrew Ginther Thursday morning for a virtual event announcing the legislation.
The legislation will be introduced Monday in honor of Andre Hill, a 47-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by Officer Adam Coy in a garage while dropping off a Christmas gift at a friend’s home.
Hill was unarmed.
Coy was terminated a week after the shooting.
The mayor said Coy’s failure to render medical aid or activate his body-worn camera showed he was no longer fit to serve and protect city residents.
Ginther told Spectrum News he is not prejudging former Coy’s guilt in the criminal investigation that is underway by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
“I’m not a lawyer. I’m not a professional investigator. The one thing I made very clear is that he should not be a Columbus police officer and that we wanted him terminated,” he said.
When Ginther was asked if he agrees with Hill’s family’s call for murder charges, he said he would not “jump to conclusions” before an investigation is completed.
“An independent investigation is being done by BCI. They will share that information. But certainly, what I saw, what I witnessed, what I know is exceptionally disturbing,” Ginther said.
The draft of Andre’s Law is still being finalized and reviewed with Hill’s family, Harding said.
In the case of egregious violation of the law, authorities could seek criminal charges for dereliction of duty, he said.
“Andre’s Law will not solve all police violence, but it’s one more step in the right direction,” Harding said. “Andre’s Law aims to ensure that safety officers use their body-worn cameras properly and call for aid or deliver medical aid themselves.”
Ginther also announced a $4.5 million investment in new technologies to improve the quality of body-worn cameras in Columbus.
He said the new cameras will have better resolution and capture more footage.
Implementing the cameras will require a renegotiation of a memorandum with the Fraternal Order of Police, Ginther said.
He hopes the FOP will agree with the “common-sense” changes that would allow more interactions to be captured.
“The FOP needs to decide if it stands for the people or not,” he said.
“I believe that the FOP has heard the community, knows what the community is demanding, and they understand the sacred bond between the community and law enforcement, and that to stand in the way of reform, and to oppose change, puts that sacred bond at risk.”
Ginther said he woke up Thursday with a new sense of “purpose and optimism,” following the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
But he said he is troubled by recent events in Columbus and will remain focused on stopping “the senseless killing of Black men in our city.”
Columbus police Chief Thomas Quinlan announced steps the department is taking to address officers in its ranks who may need help.
He said he will implement new technology that will scan body-worn camera footage to identify officers who are possibly in need of intervention, including officers who need mental health counseling due to the difficult scenes they see in their line of work.
“Currently, we have an outdated system,” he said. “Rarely has this system identified an officer in need of an intervention.”
He said the new system will be a “predictive” dashboard system.
Officials said they will use the technology to link police officers and firefighters with resources at a new facility with counselors and chaplains.