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 attempted to reach Anderson for comment and also reached out to the Fraternal Order of Police.
The shooting happened around 2 a.m. Tuesday at an apartment building where uniformed officers were serving a felony warrant for domestic violence and assault and improper handling of a firearm, Bryant said at the news conference. A news release by police indicated the male who was shot, later identified as Lewis, as the person sought in the felony warrant.
“The officers knocked on the door for several minutes … acknowledging themselves as Columbus Police officers,” Bryant said.
Police body camera video shows them knocking and calling out to occupants repeatedly for more than eight minutes. They called for “Donovan” by name several times.
Eventually, a man came to the door and was taken into custody by police, Bryant said. He told officers he’d been asleep, and they took a knife from his pocket. A second man inside the apartment was taken into custody about a minute later.
Officers asked if anyone else was inside the apartment, Bryant said, but were unable to determine that.
Anderson and a K9 were then called in by Columbus Police to see if anyone else was inside, Bryant said.
“Once the K9 officer arrived on the scene, additional announcements were made for anyone else inside to come out or the K9 was going to be released inside of the apartment,” Bryant said.
In the police body camera video, the K9 is seen barking outside a back bedroom door, then officers enter the apartment and warn they are going to send a dog in.
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, moments after opening the bedroom door.
During the news conference, Bryant showed the body camera video frame-by-frame, asserting that the moment Anderson opened fire, it appeared Lewis was holding “something” in his hand.
A vape pen was later found next to Lewis on the bed, Bryant says. Once Lewis was handcuffed, video shows, officers began rendering aid.
Lewis was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:19 a.m., according to the Columbus Police statement.
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“The bodycam footage released yesterday afternoon says 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 who was alone in his bed in the middle of the night.”
“As a result of this entirely reckless behavior by a Columbus Police Officer, a family is left to grieve the loss of such a young soul.”
Bryant, the police chief, said Tuesday officers are “put in compromising, potentially life-threatening situations” every day, “in which we are required to make split-second decisions.”
“As the chief, it is my job to hold my officers accountable, but it’s also my job to offer them support and make sure that I give that to them through 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.”