Over the weekend, ABC6 aired ads during football games played by Ohio State and the Cleveland Browns, teasing what it described as a bombshell report into the Oberlin Drive property where Andre Hill was shot and killed by Columbus police in the days before Christmas 2020.
The subsequent report, which appeared as an almost nine-minute on-air segment and an accompanying 1,100-plus-word online feature, centered on 911 calls and police body camera footage related to the Cranbrook neighborhood property and obtained by ABC6, purports to reveal the “volatile history” at the house where officer Adam Coy shot and killed Hill, who was unarmed and holding a cell phone at the time Coy opened fire. (Coy was fired by CPD a week later, pleading not guilty to charges of murder, felonious assault and dereliction of duty.)
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Early in the written feature, ABC6 suggests that the property holds some underlying, dark secret, writing, “It’s an unassuming pale yellow split level, though the house and people who once lived there didn’t go unnoticed.”
The article then goes on to detail the various times police had been called to the house since 2019, with most of the calls centered on the troubled past of a woman tied to the former property owner. What the report never does, however, is connect this past to the killing of Hill, the two existing as unrelated, standalone events. In attempting to link the two, the report manages to do a disservice to both Hill and the woman at the center of the calls, whose past and struggles with addiction are inelegantly dragged into the spotlight in what reads as an attempt to create some sort of cause for the shooting.
But even CPD has not attempted to publicly make this case.
“”Like all of you, I witnessed his critical misconduct firsthand via his body-worn camera,” former police chief Thomas Quinlan said of the Hill shooting in December 2020, comments that were also published by ABC6. “I have seen everything I need to see to reach the conclusion that Officer Coy must be terminated, immediately. Some may call this a rush to judgment. It is not. We have an officer who violated his oath to comply with the rules and policies of the Columbus Division of Police. And the consequences of that violation are so great, it requires immediate action. This violation cost an innocent man his life.”
In offering up an ill-considered, newly cobbled together narrative, ABC6, which is an affiliate of Sinclair Broadcasting Group (a conservative powerhouse that owns local news stations across the country and has been accused of veering into outright propaganda), creates the appearance that it is laying cover for Columbus police, putting forth a version of events where officers were already leery of the “unassuming pale yellow split level” prior to receiving a call about Hill on that night in December 2020.
Here are just a handful of properties ABC6 would have been better off investigating with its time:
The building at 1000 N. Hague Ave.
The site of the Columbus Police Academy, where a Training Bureau that consists of 38 officers and four civilians is tasked with preparing new officers to enter the field. If we’re looking at the ways that police respond to events in the field, this should be one of the first places investigated.
The building at 90 W. Broad St.
This Downtown location is the site of the Mayor’s Office, from which Andrew Ginther sets civic priorities, including the Columbus budget, which is tilted heavily toward funding the police.
The building at 90 W. Broad St., part two
Also the home to Columbus City Council, whose members, on occasion, have offered lip service to police reform while continuing to vote for an ever-ballooning CPD budget. Most recently, City Council approved an expenditure of $671,000 to add technology to a dormant police helicopter, which was purchased for $3.4 million in 2019 but has remained grounded since it did not come equipped with night vision, among other needed gear.
The building with the lion statues at 120 Marconi Blvd.
This Downtown address is the site of the Columbus Division of Police headquarters, which should remain the primary focus of any investigation into the killing of Hill.