Ohio Police Leave Bodycams Off and Kill Unarmed Black Man Who Had a Cellphone in His Hand. Incident Captured on Video Anyway

Ishena Robinson
·3 min read

I’m angered and exhausted to report that another unarmed Black man has been killed by police, this time in Columbus, Ohio.

The 47-year old man, who is still unnamed by authorities, was shot on Tuesday by a Columbus police officer while sitting in the garage of a home he was visiting on the northwest side of the city, according to a statement by the Columbus Department of Public Safety. The cops notably did not turn on their body cameras until after the shooting—but it was captured on video because the devices have a function that records 60 seconds of “look back” footage.

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That footage recorded no audio, says the official statement, but shows the man walking towards the police with a cellphone in one hand. He was shot by one of the officers, after which the footage shows that they delayed giving him first aid. The victim later died at a hospital, and in the wake of that rapid snuffing out of his life by police, there were no weapons found on the scene. Of course.

What’s worse, the cops went there initially to make a non-emergency call in response to a neighbor’s complaint that an SUV had been running on and off and causing noise disturbance, a seemingly innocuous beginning to what reads like a predictably tragic end to situations where police are involved and Black people are present.

The officer who fired on the victim is a 15-year veteran of the force named Adam Coy, reports WSYX ABC 6. He’s been stripped of his police powers and made to turn in his badge and gun pending an independent criminal investigation, said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther. Ginther has also asked the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio to investigate the shooting as a possible civil rights violation.

At a press conference Tuesday, Ginther lambasted the officers involved in the incident for turning off their body cameras while on duty.

“It is unacceptable to me and the community that officers did not turn on their cameras,” he said, according to the Columbus Dispatch. “If you won’t turn on your body camera, you cannot work in our city.”

The body camera footage will be shown to the victim’s family and is expected to be released to the public sometime this week.

The outrageous, sickening story echoes many other killings of Black people by police, like that of Stephon Clark, the 22-year-old man who was shot by police in Sacramento, Calif., in his grandmother’s backyard with a phone in his hand in 2018, and then was left lying for five minutes before they even bothered to act as if they cared about his life by performing one minute of CPR.

And there’s Casey Goodson Jr., a 23-year-old Black man shot and killed by police earlier this month, also in Columbus, while reportedly entering his home with a bag of sandwiches in his hand. His family and loved ones are having a private funeral to put him to rest today.

It’s clear that police have no plans to stop shooting Black people—and despite all the well-meaning speeches and statements made by politicians this year, cops will continue taking our lives as long as they face no material consequences for doing so.