Donovan Lewis: Body camera video shows a Columbus, Ohio, police officer fatally shooting an unarmed 20-year-old Black man


Donovan Lewis, 20, died Tuesday after being shot by Columbus police officer Ricky Anderson, a 30-year veteran with the Columbus Division of Police assigned to the K9 unit, according to a police statement.

The shooting is under investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Anderson is currently on leave, Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said at a news conference Tuesday. CNN has tried to reach Anderson for comment and has also contacted the Fraternal Order of Police.

The shooting took place around 2 a.m. Tuesday at an apartment building where uniformed officers were serving warrants for domestic violence and assault and improper handling of a firearm. Bryant said at the press conference. A police press release indicated that the man who was shot, later identified as Lewis, was the person wanted on the felony warrant.

“The officers knocked on the door for a few minutes… and acknowledged that they were Columbus police officers,” Bryant said.

Police CCTV footage shows them knocking repeatedly for more than eight minutes and yelling at the occupants. They called out “Donovan” by name several times.

Eventually, a man knocked on the door and was taken into police custody, Bryant said. He told the officers that he had been asleep and they took a knife from his pocket. A second man in the apartment was arrested about a minute later.

Officers asked if anyone was still in the apartment, Bryant said, but were unable to determine.

Anderson and a K9 were then called by the Columbus Police Department to see if anyone else was inside, Bryant said.

“When the K9 officer was on the scene, additional announcements were made for anyone else inside to come out or that the K9 would be released in the apartment,” Bryant said.

The police CCTV video shows the K9 barking outside the door of a rear bedroom, after which officers enter the apartment and warn that they are going to send a dog inside.

An officer is seen opening the bedroom door, where a man is seen on a bed.

Bodycam video shows Anderson firing a single shot at a man, later identified as Lewis, just after he opened the bedroom door.

During the press conference, Bryant showed the body-camera video frame by frame, claiming that the moment Anderson opened fire, it looked like Lewis had “something” in his hand.

A vape pen was later found on the bed next to Lewis, Bryant says. Once Lewis was handcuffed, video footage, officers began to render assistance.

Lewis was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:19 a.m., according to the Columbus Police Department statement.

Shooting is the latest law enforcement

A lawyer for Lewis’s family condemned the shooting in a statement to CNN affiliate WSYX, calling the officer’s behavior reckless.

“The bodycam images released yesterday afternoon say it all,” the statement said. “In literally the blink of an eye, a Columbus police officer shot and killed Donovan Lewis, an unarmed young black man lying alone in his bed in the middle of the night.”

“As a result of this utterly reckless behavior by a Columbus police officer, a family must mourn the loss of such a young soul.”

The incident was just the latest in a series of deadly and controversial shootings involving the city’s black residents in recent years that have sparked protests over racial injustice and an assessment by the United States Department of Justice in the Columbus Division of Police.
A Franklin County deputy sheriff shot Casey Goodson Jr. fatally in December 2020 when the 23-year-old tried to enter his home with a Subway sandwich. The deputy was working for the US Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force looking for violent offenders at the time, police said, but Goodson was not the person wanted. A grand jury indicted the deputy on two counts of murder and one count of reckless manslaughter.
Later that month, a Columbus police officer fatally shot Andre Hill when officers responded to a report of a man sitting in his SUV for an extended period of time. The officer in that case was fired and charged with murder, and the city council later voted to approve a $10 million settlement to Hill’s family, the largest in the city’s history.
Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, was killed in another shooting last April when the Columbus police responded to her foster home, where Ma’Khia had argued with another young woman over a cluttered house and unmade bed. Police CCTV footage showed Ma’Khia lunging at the other woman with a knife, and a grand jury later declined to charge the officer who fired the fatal shot.

Bryant, the police chief, said on Tuesday that officers “are put “every day in compromising, potentially life-threatening situations” where we have to make split-second decisions.

“As a chief, it’s my job to hold my officers accountable, but it’s also my job to support them and make sure I give them that during the process,” Bryant said:. “If they do the right things for the right reasons, we will support them. If they do something wrong, they will be held accountable.”

The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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