Ex-policeman in Ohio charged in shooting of unarmed Black man
Adam Coy (Mugshot)

A former policeman has been charged with murder for the shooting death of an unarmed Black man in the US state of Ohio.

The killing of Andre Hill shortly before Christmas in the city of Columbus sparked a new wave of protests in the United States against police brutality towards African Americans.

Adam Coy, the white police officer who shot the 47-year-old Hill on December 22, was arrested and charged with murder on Wednesday, officials said.

Announcing the charges Wednesday evening, Dave Yost, the state attorney general, said the "same rules (apply) for everybody."

"Truth is the best friend of justice, and the grand jury here found the truth," Yost said. "Andre Hill should not be dead."

Coy was dismissed from the Columbus police force in January.

Coy and another officer were responding to a non-emergency call about a suspicious vehicle when they encountered Hill walking out of the garage of a friend he was visiting.

Footage from Coy's body camera shows Hill approaching the officers with a mobile phone in his left hand. His other hand is not visible.

Coy opened fire within seconds and the officers did not immediately provide any assistance to the dying man.

Hill's death came just a few weeks after the killing in Columbus of another unarmed Black man, Casey Goodson Jr., 23, who was fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy while returning home after buying sandwiches.

Protests for racial justice and against police brutality swept the United States last summer following the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The officer, Derek Chauvin, is to go on trial on March 8.