“At this point, it is critical that the video of last night’s shooting and all available facts are shared for the sake of complete transparency,” said the Columbus City Council chairman. Shannon Hardin said in a tweet which contained the video and linked to a local news article about the incident. The state criminal investigation office is conducting an independent investigation, he said, and could refer the evidence to a grand jury.
The Columbus Police Department, the mayor’s office and the state attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Police Chief in Miss. bragged about shooting black man 119 times, according to recording
“Donovan Lewis lost his life. As a parent, you know, I sympathize and grieve with his mother,” Police Chief Elaine Bryant said at the news conference. “I grieve with our community, but we’re going to let this investigation take place.”
In the video, officers knock on the apartment door several times and identify themselves before two men come out and are handcuffed. The police then stand at the doorway with the guns pointed and loudly announce that they will send a dog.
“Columbus Police. When you’re inside, make yourself known,” said an officer. Outside the camera, a man can be heard saying “they are sleeping”. The officer repeats, “Come out. Come out now.”
A cop then follows a police dog to Lewis’s room and opens the door. Immediately after a light illuminates Lewis leaning on his mattress, the officer fires. While Lewis squirms and moans in bed, he is told to “crawl” out of the room and stop resisting arrest. He was handcuffed to the bed and died shortly afterwards in a hospital.
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“Police shot and killed Donovan Lewis while he was in one of the most vulnerable places a person can be – bed. As the investigation progresses, some may point to the fact that the police were trying to execute a warrant when they shot Mr. Lewis, as if to suggest that an alleged crime warrants immediate execution,” Kelly Sampson, director of race justice at the anti-discrimination agency. gun violence group Brady, in a statement.
The murder is the latest example of unarmed black Americans being shot by police. According to a 2019 Northwestern University study, black Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white Americans. The numbers are even higher in Ohio, where black people are 4.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white people.
In December 2020, Andre Hill, a 47-year-old unarmed black man, was shot four times by a Columbus police officer while leaving a friend’s house. His family received a $10 million settlement from the city. Last year, an officer shot and killed Ma’Khia Bryant, a black 16-year-old, outside her home. The officer was acquitted of criminal wrongdoing after an investigation.
According to the Columbus Urban League, Lewis’s murder was the third police shooting in the city in the past week. The organization called for a community forum on Saturday to discuss the incident.
“Yesterday’s shooting has provoked painful, contradictory reactions. We understand that serving a warrant for a crime creates a very volatile and dangerous situation. And yet the video from the body camera is just as heartbreaking as the fact that another black man lost his life,” said Stephanie Hightower, the group’s president, in a statement. “Regardless of the final conclusion, our community deserves an independent, thorough and transparent investigation by all competent authorities.”