Ohio Officer Who Fatally Shot Unarmed Black Man Did Not Activate Bodycam

A police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Black man in Columbus, Ohio, did not activate his body-worn camera.

Officers were responding to a non-emergency call from a neighbor at around 1.37 a.m. The neighbor reported a disturbance on the 1000 block of Oberlin Drive, saying a man was sitting in an SUV turning the engine on and off for an extended period of time, Columbus Police said in a statement.

On arrival the officers spotted a man in an open garage. The officer who fired the fatal shot had not turned on his body-worn camera but a "look back" function meant it was rolling for 60 seconds without audio during the incident.

The clip showed the man approaching the police with a phone in his left hand. Police say his right hand was not visible.

columbus ohio
The man was shot in Columbus, Ohio by a police officer. Getty Maps

The officer then shot the man, aged 47. He later died at Riverside Methodist Hospital at around 2.45 a.m.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther condemned the killing in a statement on Twitter, adding that it was "unacceptable" the officer involved did not turn on their body-worn camera.

The shooting comes after the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor earlier this year, which sparked protests across the world and galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement.

Another unarmed Black man, Casey Goodson, Jr. was shot by police on his own doorstep in Columbus earlier this month. He later died of his injuries in hospital.

U.S. police have killed more than 1,000 people so far in 2020, according to the Mapping Police Violence project.

Ginther wrote on Twitter on Tuesday: "This morning we learned of the killing of another Black man at the hands of law enforcement.

The officer involved did not turn on their body-worn camera — which is unacceptable. The officer involved has been relieved of duty, requiring him to turn in his badge and gun, stripping him of police powers pending the outcome of the criminal and internal investigations.

— Mayor Andrew Ginther (@MayorGinther) December 22, 2020

"Our community is still raw and exhausted from the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and, most recently, Casey Goodson, Jr., right here in Columbus."

"The officer involved did not turn on their body-worn camera — which is unacceptable."

Ginther said the officer involved has been relieved of duty, requiring him to turn in his badge and gun. He has been stripped of police powers pending the outcome of the criminal and internal investigations, the mayor added.

Ginther continued: "It is unacceptable, to me and the community, that the officers did not turn on their cameras. Let me be clear: If you're not going to turn on your body-worn camera, you cannot serve and protect the people of Columbus.

He added: "I am deeply saddened, frustrated, angry, demanding answers of what happened in our community earlier this morning. I am committed to transparency and accountability in our Division of Police."

Updated statement from @ColumbusPolice on Tuesday's officer-involved shooting: pic.twitter.com/9E19M0iLPY

— Columbus Department of Public Safety (@ColumbusSafety) December 22, 2020

Local media said the officer who fired the fatal shot is Adam Coy, a veteran of the force for at least 18 years. Police are yet to formally identify the officer.

Columbus police said that the preliminary investigation indicates that the man shot was visiting someone at the home, adding that no weapon was recovered at the scene.

The footage also shows that officers did not immediately render first aid to the man after he was shot.

The dash camera was also not activated for any part of the officers' response since the non-emergency nature of the report meant lights and sirens were not engaged.

Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan said: "The Division invested millions of dollars in these cameras for the express purpose of creating a video and audio record of these kinds of encounters. They provide transparency and accountability, and protect the public, as well as officers, when the facts are in question."

Newsweek has contacted Columbus Police for comment.

The Ohio State Bureau of Criminal Investigation has reportedly taken over the case.