Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Andre Hill’s loved ones mourn the loss of a “chess-playing mind”

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Alan Binder
Alan Binder
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Columbus, Ohio (AP) – In late May, Andre Hill and his roommate Donelle Bryant in shock, along with the nation, watched a video of a Minneapolis policeman squeezing his knee against George Floyd’s neck for minutes, even as Floyd begged that she couldn’t breathe.

Nearly six months later, Bryant, 42, is sitting alone on the same sofa at his home in Dublin in a suburb of Columbus, as he watches body camera footage of police shooting and killing his 22-year-old friend.

On Friday, the Hill family said that Reverend Al Sharpton will deliver a memorial to his friend at a memorial service Tuesday.

I mean, it still doesn’t feel real, Bryant said. “It just sounds kind of crazy.”

Columbus officer Adam Coy, white, Hill was shot The one who was black, early December 22 when Hill walked out of a garage with a cell phone in his left hand and his right hand blocked. He was visiting a family friend at the time.

Police responded to a neighbor’s non-emergency complaint about someone stopping and starting the car outside.

“He was bringing me Christmas money. A woman inside the house yelled at the police after that, he didn’t do anything.

Coy, who had a long history of complaints from citizens, was fired on December 28 For failing to activate his body camera prior to the confrontation and not providing Hale medical assistance.

Alongside the domestic police investigation, the Ohio Attorney General, the US Attorney General for Central Ohio and the FBI have begun their own investigations into the shooting.

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At a memorial service Tuesday morning at the First Church of God in Columbus, civil rights attorney Ben Crump is expected to issue a “call to action,” according to the Hale family’s press release.

Family and friends remember Hill – father and grandfather – as a loyal family man, an ever-smiling optimist and a skilled merchant, who dreamed after years of working as a chef and restaurant manager of owning his own restaurant one day.

“I consider him a man of everything,” said his 27-year-old daughter, Carissa Hill. “It’s hard to say what he did because he did it all,” she added.

Hill, 47, grew up in the Eastmore neighborhood of Columbus, a mixed-race area on the eastern side of town. He graduated in the early 1990s with a degree in business administration and culinary arts from Hawking College in Southeast Ohio.

Hill – “Dre” for Friends and “Big Daddy” for his three grandchildren – has worked at several restaurants around Columbus over the years as either a chef or manager, including Buffalo Wild Wings and Popeyes, and franchises for two smaller chains, The Cooker Restaurant and The Bag of Old Nails.

He was a skilled spiritual food chef but enjoyed trying all styles of cooking.

“You name it, it worked,” said Michael Henry, 49, who attended high school with Hill and later shared an apartment. “That was his passion for cooking,” he added.

Later, Hill joins Henry at Airnet Systems in Columbus, a haulage company that ships packages and mail, including night checks, to banks. There, he met Bryant, bonded at a game of chess. Bryant, who met his four-year-old girlfriend via Hill, said the two hit it off, and eventually they moved on together and became more like brothers than their roommates.

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Victor Carmichael met Hale and Bryant when he also started working for Airnet Systems in the late 1990s. Carmichael, 44, was new to Columbus at the time and didn’t know anyone. He said Hill helped him find a community in Ohio, typical of the type of boyfriend he was.

His younger brother, Alphon Williams, said Hill’s fondness for chess exemplified the way he conducted himself.

“He had a mind that played chess with life,” said Williams. “Chess is a movement before your initial move, even two steps forward. This is what he used to do every day with whatever he tried to achieve.”

Hill was adamant that his family – including his daughter, grandchildren, two sisters, and brother – stay in touch, especially after any long-term separation.

“He’s the one making that call -” Come here now. I cook dinner. Sister Michelle Hayrston, 45, said, “Let’s go.

Last year, the coronavirus pandemic forced Hill to pause his dream of owning a restaurant, and he took up work on construction and remodeling the home to help support his family instead. Sister Shauna Barnett said he has worked across Ohio as a subcontractor.

Bryant said that on the day he died, Hill had gathered his crew to do the independent contracting, a goal he had been working on since March.

That Tuesday, Hill was borrowing a co-worker’s truck he was planning to buy and parked it outside his friend’s house.

Under his jacket as he got out of the garage and slowly walked towards the police, he was wearing a black T-shirt demanding justice for George Floyd.

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Varnosh Amiri is a member of the Associated Press / Report for the American Home News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that puts journalists in local newsrooms to report classified issues.

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