Body cam footage is nauseating
In the wake of Andre Hill’s death last month, initial calls were for ensuring law enforcement officers’ awareness of and compliance with policies designed to keep them and those they encounter safe. That was the right place to start.
But now it seems there was something else missing the night Columbus Police Officer Adam Coy shot 47-year-old Hill, who is Black: basic human decency.
Coy was not alone at the scene of course. A female officer at the scene said she did NOT perceive any threats when Hill emerged from the garage of a home where a woman inside was waiting for him to bring her Christmas money. The female officer said she did not see a gun. As another officer led Coy away from the scene, Coy said “I gotta figure out what I missed.” It seems he was aware rather quickly that he had made a tragic mistake.
And yet, body cam footage from other officers at the scene is nauseating. Hill was left unattended on the floor of the garage while officers secured the scene. Approximately five minutes after he was shot, an officer can be heard saying “Let’s cuff him up. He’s still moving.”
Later, another officer is seen standing over Hill, shining a flashlight on him.
It is not until a few more minutes have gone by that a supervisor is seen arriving and asking “Anybody doing anything for him?” Finally, the supervisor has to order an officer to start pumping Hill’s chest.
“As a police chief, and just as a human being, the events of the last week have left me shaken, and heartbroken for the family of Andre Hill,” Columbus Police Chief Thomas Quinlan said in a statement. “Every man and woman who wears this badge should feel the same.”
Indeed. It is true the people who sign up to serve and protect the rest of us must put on a certain emotional armor when going to work every day. They must in many ways be numb to situations that would send the rest of us reeling. They are under stresses we cannot fathom. In addition to policies and procedures training, it may be time for law enforcement leaders to do a mental and emotional health check with their officers, too. Those who are dealing with the challenges of their job by setting aside their humanity — or worse, setting aside the humanity of others — may need some help and a professional reset.