Family And Friends Honor Andre Hill, Demand Change And Justice Without Excuses
Services were held today for Andre Hill, the unarmed Black man fatally shot by a white Columbus police officer December 22. Police body camera footage showed officer Adam Coy shooting Hill, who emerged from a friend's garage holding just a cell phone. The officer has been fired and criminal charges are pending. During today's funeral at First Church of God in Columbus, family and friends remembered Hill as a family man full of conversation and humor. Civil rights leaders and elected officials called for justice and no more excuses.
This sound montage from the service features Hill's daughter Karissa, his brother Alvon, his sister Shawna, family attorney Ben Crump, Ohio Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, and Reverend Al Sharpton:
Hill's daughter Karissa:
"I just know anything I went to in life or anything I wanted to do or went through, my dad was always there for me. Some of this is still unbelievable. Sometimes I feel he's just at work and coming home at any minute. This is very sudden. It's a void in my heart that I'll never get back. His smile lit the room from here and beyond. It's a priceless gift that I passed on to his grandchildren. It's a gift that will keep right on giving.
Hill's brother Alvon:
"I'd love for all of us to practice more learning one another than too judgemental and hate. I'd appreciate if the police departments not only locally here but over the land will start getting accustomed to who we are and not use the excuse of being afraid. I just hope that any actions that's taken - consider life more because whether it's a victim or a criminal, everyone is entitled to mistakes and they're still God's living beings.
Hill's sister Shawna:
"We all want justice for Andre, and change needs to come. As a people, we should not have to have our loved ones sacrificed at the hands of evil and violence just to be even heard, looked at or even considered as equals. We shouldn't have to scream, holler, march, protest, or beg to be treated humanely and cordially as human beings. We shouldn't have to step out everyday in fear not knowing or thinking we will never return to see our loved ones or that they won't return to us. We shouldn't be afraid to have our kids out while others are out there roam the streets, doing and saying as they please, and act like they are without spot or blemish - when yet they are the real perpetrators of violence and evil, and they are clothed under the guise of peace, trust, and honesty, and they are killing us off at a constant rate with no repercussions whatsoever. We feel we can't even call 311, a non-emergency number, because we can't trust the badge that shows up. We can no longer continue like this. We need change right now. Andre, I will forever love you. When God says so, I will see you on the other side."
Family attorney Ben Crump:
"What was his crime? What was his crime? Thomas Jefferson and the founding fathers of America said in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence that we hold these truths to be self-evident...life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Well America, that means Black people too. America, that means Andre Hill too. America, that means Andre Hill's life matters. America that means Black Lives Matter. America, we will demand justice for Andre Maurice Hill."
Congresswoman Joyce Beatty:
"The Congressional Black Caucus salutes Andre Hill and pledges to aggressively pursue a policy agenda with legislation that aims to combat police misconduct, excessive force, and racial bias in policing. It will be grounded in accountability and transparency, and it will be anchored in justice."
Rev. Al Sharpton:
"Andre's blood is crying from the ground, and we are not going to accept excuses this time. These officers - anybody that stood there and began conjuring up an alibi and then let him lay there struggling and then look at a man on his way to the other side and say handcuff him - all of you need to face the bar of justice. We've got to stop these episodic movements where we jump up for a week here or a week there. It's time to link this thing together, and we need to stand until we turn this nation around."