Ex-Cop Adam Coy, Charged With Murder of Andre Hill, Has Faced Legal Trouble Before

A white former police officer who was charged with murdering an unarmed Black man in Columbus, Ohio had a history of complaints including at least one incident alleging he used excessive force.

Adam Coy, 44, was indicted by a grand jury for allegedly murdering Andre Hill, 47, on Wednesday. Coy claimed that Hill was carrying a gun immediately before shooting him four times within seconds of encountering him while responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle in a residential area on December 22, 2020. Body camera footage appears to show Hill carrying a cell phone, not a gun, and no weapon was found on the scene after the fact. In addition to the murder charge, Coy was charged with one count of felonious assault and two counts of dereliction of duty.

In 2003, two years into Coy's 19-year police career, he received counseling after at least nine complaints were launched against him, according to The Columbus Dispatch. A 2015 Dispatch article details a late-night traffic stop in 2012, when Coy was captured on video "banging the driver's head into the hood four times" while arresting a person suspected of drunk driving.

The footage itself, taken from Coy's police cruiser, did not spark an investigation of the violent incident but was used as evidence when a witness to the event contacted police. After an internal review later concluded that Coy had used force that was "excessive for the situation," he was issued a 160 hour suspension before returning to work. The driver was paid $45,000 in a settlement with the city.

Andre Hill Adam Coy Police Brutality Murder
Demonstrators are seen holding a candlelight vigil over the police killing of Andre Hill in Columbus, Ohio on December 26, 2020. STEPHEN ZENNER/AFP/Getty

Coy was fired days after Hill's death for not immediately turning on his body camera when arriving on the scene with another officer, which was the reason for one of Wednesday's dereliction of duty charges. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost indicated that he believed the grand jury had "found the truth" before deciding to charge Coy, while adding that Coy's actions had "diminished" the "virtue" of other officers.

"Law enforcement officers are held in high regard... but every person is responsible for and judged by his or her own actions," Yost said during a press conference. "Neither guilt nor virtue may be inferred simply by association. The vast virtue of law enforcement is diminished by the very few bad actors among its ranks and only by holding a bad actor accountable can that virtue be sustained. Here's what I mean in plain English: same rules for everybody."

Hill's death came only weeks after Casey Goodson Jr., another unarmed Black man, was fatally shot by a different officer in Columbus. A January report from NPR concluded that at least 135 unarmed Black people had been shot to death by police since 2015, with at least 75 percent of the officers involved being white. Only a small fraction of the officers faced any charges.

Newsweek reached out to the Columbus Division of Police for comment.