'Call to action': Funeral service to be held for Andre Hill

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Hundreds are expected to gather Tuesday in Columbus to honor the life of Andre Hill — known as “Dre” to friends and “Big Daddy” to his three grandchildren — after he was fatally shot by a white police officer days before Christmas.

The memorial service will take place at the First Church of God in southeast Columbus where civil rights attorney Ben Crump is expected to issue a “call to action,” and Rev. Al Sharpton is scheduled to deliver the eulogy.

The service will begin with a public viewing at 10 a.m. before Hill’s family holds a private service at the church at 11 a.m.

Hill, 47, was among a number of Black men and women killed by police in America in 2020. He was the second Black man to be fatally shot by Ohio law enforcement officers last month. The first was 23-year-old Casey Goodson Jr., who was killed by a white Franklin County sheriff’s deputy.

In police bodycam footage released of Hill’s killing, Columbus Officer Adam Coy can be seen fatally shooting Hill early Dec. 22 as Hill emerged from a garage holding a cellphone in his left hand and his right hand obscured. He was visiting a family friend at the time.

Police had responded to a neighbor’s nonemergency complaint about someone stopping and starting a car outside.

“He was bringing me Christmas money. He didn’t do anything,” a woman inside the house shouted at police afterward.

Additional bodycam footage showed that at one point, two other Columbus officers rolled Hill over and put handcuffs on him before leaving him alone again. None of them, according to the footage released Thursday, offered any first aid even though Hill was barely moving, groaning and bleeding while laying on the garage floor.

Coy, who had a long history of complaints from citizens, was fired Dec. 28 for failing to activate his body camera before the confrontation and for not providing medical aid to Hill.

Beyond an internal police investigation, the Ohio attorney general, the U.S. attorney for central Ohio and the FBI have begun their own probes into the shooting.

But for now, family and friends are hoping people remember Hill — a father and grandfather — as a man devoted to his family, an always-smiling optimist and a skilled tradesman who dreamed after years of work as a chef and restaurant manager of one day owning his own restaurant.

“I consider him an everything man,” his 27-year-old daughter, Karissa Hill, said Thursday. She added: “It’s hard to say what he did, because he did everything.”

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Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.