Home News City settles Andre Hill shooting that resulted in an officer being fired

City settles Andre Hill shooting that resulted in an officer being fired


Bethany Bruner and Bill Bush

The Columbus Dispatch

The city of Columbus has agreed to pay $10 million to the family of André Hill, an unarmed Black man fatally shot by former Columbus police officer Adam Coy in December, City Attorney Zach Klein announced Friday.

It is the largest settlement in the city’s history.

“We understand that because of this former officer’s actions, the Hill family will never be whole,” Klein said. “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.”

The city also agreed to rename the gym located inside the Brentnell Community Center, 1280 Brentnell Ave., to the Andre Hill Gymnasium. Hill frequented the recreation center. That name change will take place by the end of the year.

“That was a place that he spent a lot of time and a place that is very meaningful to their family,” Michael Wright, an attorney representing the Hill family, told The Dispatch. “To have that done makes them very happy.”

Wright is among a team representing the Hill family, including nationally known civil rights attorney Ben Crump.

“The Hill family and their legal team, attorneys Ben Crump, Richard W. Schulte, and Michael Wright, want to thank the City of Columbus and its leaders for doing the right thing,” the attorneys said in a joint statement. “By agreeing to a financial resolution with the family and renaming the Brentnell Community Center Gymnasium after Andre Hill, now all those involved can begin to heal.”

Crump also represents the families of Breonna Taylor, who received a $12 million settlement from the city of Louisville, and of George Floyd, who received a $27 million from the city of Minneapolis.

Hill, 47, was exiting a garage at a home in Northwest Columbus around 2 a.m. Dec. 22 when he was shot and killed by then-Columbus police officer Adam Coy. Coy and officer Amy Detweiler had responded to a nonemergency call about a vehicle turning on and off.

Cranbrook resident Shawn Finley, left, joined other residents and supporters during a vigil in December to demand justice for Andre Hill.

Neither officer had his body cameras turned on before Coy fatally shot Hill. A “look-back” feature that automatically records the previous 60 seconds captured video, but no audio, of the shooting. Body camera footage from those two and other responding officers showed that more than 10 minutes passed before Hill was given any medical aid. He died about 30 minutes after the shooting.

Coy was fired within a week of the shooting and has since been indicted on charges of murder, felonious assault and reckless homicide. He remains free after posting a $1 million bond.

Defense attorney Mark Collins, who is representing Coy in the murder case, said he knew nothing about the civil settlement when contacted by The Dispatch. He said the settlement is based on different legal standards than those in criminal cases, and didn’t have “any reason to comment.”

“A conviction. That’s what they’re waiting for.”

Wright said the Hill family is pleased to have come to a resolution with the city, but isn’t happy.

“From their perspective, they are still hopeful for justice,” Wright said. “A conviction. That’s what they’re waiting for.”

As a result of Hill’s death, the city has made several changes to police operations. Mayor Andrew J. Ginther has said the city will upgrade the body cameras police wear.

City Council also passed “Andre’s Law,” a set of ordinances requiring Columbus police officers to have their body cameras on when they respond to calls and to provide medical assistance until paramedics arrive on the scene. Officers can be criminally charged if they do not.

The money “will never fix a family broken by needless violence,” City Council member Shayla Favor said in a written statement. “In renaming the Brentnell Community Center after Mr. Hill, we know his legacy will live on, ushering forward the critical work to ensure nothing like this ever happens again.”

Signs reading “Justice for Andre’” and “Justice for Casey,” in reference to Andre’ Hill and Casey Goodson Jr., both Black men killed at the hands of law enforcement in Columbus, sit outside the First Church of God before the funeral of Andre’ Hill in January.

In February, the City Council paid out $1.03 million to the family of Donna Castleberry, a woman killed by an undercover Columbus police officer in 2018.

The $10 million settlement to the Hill family will be paid out of the Department of Public Safety’s budget, Robin Davis, communications director for Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, said in an email.

“The City sets aside money annually to pay for claims and settlements, though the amount of this settlement was not anticipated at the time the budget was submitted to council. While no specific (budget) cuts are contemplated at this time, ultimately the city must cover the costs.”

The city will need to find cost savings and/or utilize reserve funds to cover the Hill settlement, which isn’t expected to affect critical city services, Davis said.

Ginther didn’t make himself available to be interviewed about the settlement Friday. Davis released the following written statement from the mayor:

“Andre Hill should still be alive today, and no amount of money will bring him back. My commitment to social justice, racial equity and healing in our community remains unwavering.”

The settlement agreement will need to be approved by Columbus City Council and Franklin County Probate Court. It was first signed on May 2 in a form that would pay the $10 million in two installments, the first within 60 days and another by the end of 2022.

An amendment to the agreement signed Thursday changes the two payments to a single $10 million payment due immediately upon court and city council approval,

The city admits no liability and the Hill estate recognizes that the payment is a “compromise of disputed claims,” the agreement states

The estate agrees in the settlement to release Coy, Detweiler, a list of 16 other named officers up to then-Chief Thomas Quinlan, and “any other Columbus Police Department officers involved in the incident in any way whatsoever,” harmless from any future court actions, including any against them in their personal capacities.


(Columbus Dispatch reporter John Futty contributed to this report.)

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