Columbus Police Fatally Shoot Unarmed Black Man While In Bed During Arrest

·3 min read
Dublin, Ohio, October 13, 2020, Columbus Police are on high alert as Vice President Mike Pence’s motorcade passes by.
Dublin, Ohio, October 13, 2020, Columbus Police are on high alert as Vice President Mike Pence’s motorcade passes by.

Another day and another Black person gets shot dead while in their home while a warrant is being served. The African-American community in Ohio is still mourning the killing of Jaylon Walker, and yet another incident happens to get angry about.

20-year-old Donovan Lewis was fatally shot early Tuesday morning by a Columbus police officer attempting to serve an arrest warrant improperly handling a firearm, assault, and domestic violence, The Columbus Dispatch notes. The bodycam footage released Tuesday afternoon showed Lewis unarmed while a vape pen was next to him in his bed.

Read more

The footage shows Columbus K-9 officer Ricky Anderson and other officers going inside a second-floor apartment of a three-story building on the 3200 block of Sullivant Avenue looking for Lewis. The officers had knocked on the apartment door for 8-10 minutes before someone answered. After detaining two men, the officers went to the back bedroom door of Lewis’s apartment.

From The Columbus Dispatch:

“We’re gonna send that dog in,” one of the officers warns before Anderson gives a slight push to a bedroom door off the kitchen. The door squeaks slowly open and the light from the gun of another officer shines on Lewis as one of the officers yells, “Hands!”

In less than a second, the video shows Anderson reaching into the door opening and fires a gunshot at Lewis, who appears to have raised his head from lying on his left side on the bed and is leaning on his left arm when he is hit in the abdomen and he goes face down onto the bed.

The testimony after will anger many people. As NBC 4 reports, Chief Elaine Bryant said Anderson fired his gun when Lewis appeared to raise a hand with something in it. The video showed Lewis raising his right hand toward officers while he put his left hand back toward a pillow. “There was, like, a vape pen that was found on the bed right next to him,” Bryant said.

Lewis was taken to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, where he died at 3:19 a.m. Tuesday. Before then, the footage shows a wounded Lewis being carried out of the apartment with his hands cuffed behind his back. Anderson has been placed on leave as the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation looks into the matter further.

“Every day, officers are put in compromising potentially life-threatening situations in which we are required to make split-second decisions,” Bryant said. “As the chief, it is my job to hold my officers accountable, but it’s also my job to offer them support.”

Nobody is disputing that the jobs are police officers are tough. However, those “split-second decisions” often leave Black people wounded or dead. Years later, we are still awaiting accountability for the death of Breonna Taylor – who was shot while she was sleeping during a botched no-knock warrant attempt. There’s no reason there should be a disposition to shoot minorities and not bring them in alive when infractions occur. Yet, these stories keep happening because there is not enough emphasis on safety during these warrant attempts.