The fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by police in Columbus, Ohio – the second murder in a US city this month – sparked a new wave of protests on Thursday against racial injustice and police brutality in the country.
Andre Maurice Hill, 47, was in the garage of the house on Monday evening when he was shot several times by a police officer who was called to the scene over minor incidents.
Seconds before the gunfire, bodycam footage showed Hill walking towards police holding a cell phone in his left hand, while the other hand was not visible.
Columbus police chief Thomas Quinlan announced on Thursday that he would fire the officer, Adam Coy, on offense charges.
“We have an officer who broke his oath to comply with Columbus Police Division rules and policies,” Quinlan said in a statement. “This transgression cost an innocent person his life.”
According to local media reports, Coy had previously received complaints from residents.
Coy and his colleague waited several minutes before approaching Hill, who was still alive, but later died.
Hill, the second African-American to be killed by police in Columbus in less than three weeks, was gunless.
Casey Goodson Jr, 23, was shot multiple times on December 4 while returning home. His family said he was holding a sandwich that law enforcer mistook for a gun.
Several dozen protesters gathered on Thursday, waving Black Lives Matter signs and calling for justice for those who died in police shootings.
The Columbus killings came after a summer in which the US was rocked by historic protests against racial injustice and police brutality, sparked by the murder of African-American George Floyd in May.
Floyd, also unarmed, suffocated under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis. Frightened passers-by recorded his death, with the footage quickly going viral.
“Once again officers saw a black man and concluded that he was criminal and dangerous,” an attorney Ben Crump said, who defended several families of victims of police brutality including Floyd’s, Wednesday (23/12).
He denounced the tragic succession of shootings involving officers.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said he was moutraged by Hill’s death.
“He was known to the residents of the house where his car was parked on the street,” he said Wednesday at a press conference, describing him as a guest … not an intruder.
Ginther said he was deeply disturbed that the two police officers did not provide first aid to Hill and called for Coy to be fired immediately.