Injustice That Sleeps In The Shadows

Columbus, Ohio, exists as the scene of the nationally unheralded gunning down of African American Andre Hill by police officer Adam Coy. The characterization of this large modern midwestern city by the rest of the country is that of “Flyover Country.” 

December 22nd, Andre Hill was shot multiple times by a Columbus Police officer equipped with an unactivated bodycam. The occasion turned out to be another police shooting of an unarmed black man. After shouting to officer Coy’s partner before the fatal shots, “he has a gun,” Officer Coy and others allowed Mr. Hill to lay on the ground. Mr. Hill laid on the garage floor handcuffed, unattended, unresponsive, and struggling for life for nearly five minutes and 11 seconds without providing first aid. 

Through deafening silence, the unheralded national coverage of this incident begins to take shape. With the arrival of attorney Ben Crump or even the National Action Network eulogy from the Reverend Al Sharpton could bring nothing more than a whisper in the national press. 

Outside of George Floyd, Andre Hill’s Murder is potentially the most obvious. Yet, Columbus’ 900,000 residents are not burning any modern Downtown buildings; and looters were not crawling out of pandemic plagued retail establishments. Something erroneous lies amidst a national injustice that sleeps in the shadows.  

Is the sensitivity to these continual incidences growing numb while all eyes are on Washington? The “Law and order, blue lives matter” crowd beat, maimed, and killed capital police members on January the 6th. The actions of this day also led to two police officer suicides. Through all of the smoke of police pepper spray, and rioters Bear spray, does black lives; specifically, Andre Hill’s, mean less? Have news executives, marketers, and advertisers determined that an ex-president is more interesting than police reform? 

The Columbus Safety Director fired Officer Coy on December 28th. Monday Columbus City Council passed Andre’s Law, a law that mandates body camera activation in all incidences in which use of force is a possibility. This Law also decrees that police will request emergency medical services to use force calls when an injury occurs in certain situations. Also, police must keep their first aid certification up to date and aid the injured when needed. 

These are small reactive steps to an enigma that plagues communities of color. However, small just won’t do. In Washington, proactive legislation needs to establish federal incentives to close the curtain on an old tired, redundant injustice narrative. A Franklin County grand jury indicted Officer Coy on February 3rd. 

The indictment represents a more significant step in this case, but it will be intriguing to see the jury’s composition selected as the case goes to trial. Officer Coy is pleading his innocence. Andre Hill never received that luxury on a 311 nonemergency noise complaint.

“The status quo always favors neutrality which in truth is never neutral at all but supports those who stand against change.”

― Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America

Kevin Robinson Executive Director of Accord1

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