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Columbus, Ohio, officials criticize police officers’ response after Andre Hill shooting and pledge accountability

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Columbus, Ohio, officials are decrying how officers handled rendering aid to Andre Hill after he was shot by a police officer earlier this month.

The police chief said “few” officers rendered aid prior to the medics arrival, and the mayor said he’s “horrified” by the time that passed before any officer sought to provide aid.

Both promise accountability as a result of a thorough investigation after dozens of investigative materials — including body camera video — were released Thursday by the department.

Chief Thomas Quinlan said while responding officers did not use deadly force, “few of them rendered first aid to Mr. Hill as they waited for a medic.”

Mayor Andrew J. Ginther echoed the chief’s sentiment in a statement saying, “I am horrified by the time that passed before any officer provided aid to Mr. Hill.”

“Our officers are trained to provide potentially life-saving care, and at the very least, comfort in these situations,” he said.

Both say one of the core values of the Columbus Division of Police is “compassion,” and little to none of that was displayed as evidenced in the video.

Hill’s family and their attorney said the body camera footage is further proof that his death was “unnecessary and unjustifiable.”

Ginther said he has directed the chief to “investigate the events of Dec. 22 completely and thoroughly, and to hold all officers who failed to uphold Division standards accountable.”

“We are investigating, to get to the bottom of who upheld the policies and standards of the Columbus Division of Police, and who did not,” Quinlan said, noting a large amount of video review and interviews are part of that process.

Adam Coy, the officer who shot Hill, was fired earlier this week and faces an independent criminal investigation by the state as well as US Department Justice, Quinlan said.

CNN has reached out to Coy’s attorney for comment Thursday on the criticism from the mayor and police chief.

Hill was unarmed. Coy shouted that Hill had a gun before shooting him to death last week, according to a statement included in a report prepared by the Columbus police chief after the shooting that was released earlier this week.

Coy’s body camera didn’t capture audio because he didn’t activate it until after the shooting. But a look-back feature captured 60 seconds of video with no audio prior to Coy turning on his camera.

Coy and the other officer had been dispatched on a disturbance call for someone “continuously restarting a gray SUV” and encountered Hill inside a garage. Both had their guns drawn and approached at an angle from opposite sides, according to her interview.

Coy asked Hill to exit the garage and Hill didn’t respond verbally but started walking out of the garage.

Hill’s left hand was holding a cell phone but his right hand was “concealed behind his leg.” Released records state Hill had reportedly dropped his left hand before Coy shot him but it’s not clear from Coy’s video that happened.

Quinlan said he has recently tightened policies on body-worn cameras and the duty to render first aid.

“As a police chief, and just as a human being, the events of the last week have left me shaken, and heartbroken for the family of Andre Hill,” Quinlan said. “I will not tolerate a repeat of these failures. And where officers failed, they will be held accountable.”

Family criticizes police response after video is released

Attorney Ben Crump addressed reporters after the body camera footage’s release, commending the city for its efforts at transparency but asked: “Where is the humanity for Andre Hill?”

“What is Andre Hill’s crime?” Crump said. “Is it because he is a Black man, and for whatever reason, police in America shoot first and ask questions later?”

His family also reacted to the footage, saying that it was horrifying to watch.

“Nobody had any type of human emotion or sympathy for this dying man gasping for his last breaths,” Alvin Williams, Hill’s younger brother, said. “And then you detain him worse than a caged animal. Not only for Columbus, Ohio, I’m saying this for all the police forces across this land. Your hunting season is over.”

The family also emphasized that they want to work on making sure something like this doesn’t happen again.

“We need to have a change,” said Michelle Hairston. “Because no one should have to keep going through this. We should not be going through this over and over. We need something to happen.”

Crump also said that Clarissa Hill, Andre Hill’s daughter, is interested in working on legislation to force officers to have their body cameras on or be fired.

The family described Hill as a kind man with various interests, including chess, cooking and helping his family with projects around the house.

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