COLUMBUS, Ohio – Adam Coy, a former Columbus police officer accused of murder in the shooting death of Andre Hill, was released Tuesday afternoon from jail in Ohio, hours after a judge lowered his bond from $3 million to $1 million in a court hearing.
Coy, 44, walked out of Franklin County jail as a small group of protesters chanted "convict that killer cop," while three men provided protection for Coy and escorted him to a waiting SUV parked at the curb.
About three hours earlier, Common Pleas Judge Stephen L. McIntosh granted a motion for reconsideration filed by Coy's attorneys, who argued that Coy's original bond, set Friday at his arraignment, was excessive.
The judge called $1 million "a reasonable bond ... because of the nature of the offense. It's not the worst murder, obviously. It's not an aggravated murder."
Hill's family "is disappointed that the bond was lowered," Michael Wright, one of the family's attorneys, said after the hearing. "We understand the judge's decision."
A bonding company posted the bond, which traditionally requires a defendant to pay 10 percent of the total.
Coy who was fired from the Columbus Division of Police six days after the Dec. 22 shooting, did not attend the hearing, having waived his appearance. He had been in the Franklin County jail since he was indicted Feb. 3 by a Franklin County grand jury.
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Coy attorneys called bond unconstitutionally excessive
The original $3 million bond ran contrary to the purposes of bond, which is designed to ensure a defendant's appearance in court and protect the community, Coy's attorney, Mark Collins, told the judge.
Collins said a bond of $100,000 to $400,000 would be reasonable.
Assistant Ohio Attorney General Anthony Pierson did not suggest a specific bond, but said the state was concerned that Coy, facing a potential life sentence if convicted, might be inclined to flee if released on bond.
Coy is charged with one count each of murder and felonious assault and two misdemeanor counts of dereliction of duty in the shooting of the unarmed Black man at the entrance of an open garage at a home where Hill was an invited guest.
Hill was shot by Coy as he and officer Amy Detweiler were responding to a nonemergency disturbance call about a car running on and off in the early morning hours. Collins, the attorney for Coy, has said that Coy believed Hill, who was holding an illuminated cellphone in his left hand, had a silver revolver in his right hand when he shot Hill. There was no gun; Hill was apparently holding a set of keys.
Magistrate Elizabeta Saken set the original bond Friday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.
Coy's attorneys, Collins and Kaitlyn Stephens, called the original bond unconstitutionally excessive in a motion they filed electronically Sunday.
The U.S. and Ohio constitutions instruct that "excessive bail shall not be required," the attorneys wrote.
They also cited an Ohio rule of criminal procedure, which says courts must release defendants "on the least restrictive conditions" that will assure the person's appearance in court and protect public safety.
Coy, a native of central Ohio, has cooperated with state Bureau of Criminal Identification agents and voluntarily turned himself in after his indictment, they wrote.
In 25 years "of lawfully having a duty weapon, never once prior to Dec. 22, 2020, had he ever fired his weapon on duty," the defense team wrote. That, they contend, and the fact that he has voluntarily surrendered all of his weapons, ensure that he isn't a threat to public safety.
Collins' attorneys argued in the motion that the $3 million bond is much higher than any bond set for law-enforcement officers charged in use-of-force deaths around the nation.
The examples provided included a $1 million bond for the Minneapolis officer charged with killing George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes and the $200,000 bond for a Dallas officer charged with fatally shooting a man she thought was a burglar, but who was in his own apartment.
Coy's attorneys also asked for a modification in one of the conditions of bond imposed by Saken, who ordered Coy to have no contact with police officers, even those who aren't witnesses in the case.
They wrote that Coy should be allowed to interact with a support team of officers who have had similar experiences, a customary method of helping officers cope with the fallout from fatal uses of force.
Pierson did not object to the modification.
Judge McIntosh approved the modification, saying Coy is only prohibited from having contact with officers who are associated with the case.
Follow reporter John Futty on Twitter: @johnfutty
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Andre Hill case: Ex-Columbus police officer Adam Coy released on bond