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City Of Columbus To Pay $10 Million In Settlement With Family Of Andre Hill

Photo caption:

Photo by Jay LaPrete AP

Karissa Hill, daughter of Andre Hill, raises hands with Benjamin Crump, the civil rights attorney representing Hill's family, at a news conference in February after former Columbus police officer Adam Coy was charged with murder in Hill's death.

The city of Columbus, Ohio, has agreed to pay $10 million to the family of Andre Hill, a 47-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by a Columbus police officer in December.

It is the largest such settlement in the city's history, and the largest pretrial settlement in a police use-of-force case in state history, lawyers said.

"It's one step toward something. It doesn't help or doesn't take the scar off of our hearts that we still have from my dad not being here," said Hill's daughter Karissa Hill at a press conference after the settlement was announced. "But it's something, and it's a start."

Hill was visiting a family friend when he was fatally shot by now-former officer Adam Coy in the early morning hours of December 22.

Coy and his partner had been dispatched to respond to a non-emergency call about a person sitting in an SUV and intermittently running the car, according to city officials.

The two officers arrived at a home with an open garage door. As they approached with a flashlight on, Hill walked out, showing the officers his cell phone screen with one hand, his other hand in the pocket of his winter coat.

Coy shot him four times, according to an autopsy, in an encounter that lasted less than a minute.

Neither officer turned on their body camera until after the shooting, but a 60-second "look-back" feature captured the encounter without audio. Footage also shows that more than 10 minutes passed before Hill received any medical attention.

"Everybody knew that this was wrong. And in the face of wrong, what do we want responsible leaders to do? What do we want the example to be for our children?" said civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who has represented Hill's family, along with many others of those killed by police. "When you see wrong, then your obligation is to do right."

The department fired Coy on December 28 for failing to turn on his body camera and for not providing medical aid.

He has since been charged with murder and felonious assault. He was arrested in February and was released on a $1 million bond. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Coy has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Two federal investigations, one by the FBI and one by the U.S. attorney for central Ohio, are also underway.

"No amount of money will ever bring Andre Hill back to his family, but we believe this is an important and necessary step in the right direction," said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein in a statement.

In addition to the $10 million payment, the settlement requires the city to rename a municipal gym after Hill by the end of 2021.

Hill's daughter Karissa held her own daughter as she spoke to reporters later.

"My daughter's three," she said. "She might not understand it now, but when she's older, she will definitely understand the legacy that her Big Daddy left behind for her."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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