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Columbus protests police killing of Donovan Lewis

By staff

Ohio protest demands justice for Donovan Lewis.

Columbus, OH – Hundreds of Columbus area residents gathered over the Labor Day weekend to protest the murder of 20-year-old Donovan Lewis by Columbus police officer Ricky Anderson. The demonstrations called for the firing and conviction of Ricky Anderson. They also demanded an end to qualified immunity, criticized nighttime raids, and showed support for the Lewis family by collecting signatures and donations.

Demonstrations took place in front of the Columbus Police Department headquarters, the Ohio State House, and along a busy North High Street – where protesters chanted, “Out of the bars and into the street!” as football fans gathered at restaurants and bars after the first Ohio State football game of the season.

The weekend’s protests were organized by multiple groups, including JUST, BQIC, BAC, and PSL. Events in solidarity with the Columbus demonstrations also took place in various locations across the state, including Dayton, where local FRSO membership participated in discussions on ending police violence.

On August 30, CPD officers entered the apartment of 20-year-old Donovan Lewis around 2:30 a.m., during which Anderson shot and killed Lewis while he was in bed. Police had arrived to serve warrants for misdemeanor charges stemming from a domestic conflict with his partner earlier in the month, and a year-old felony charge of “improper handling of a firearm in a vehicle.”

In the bodycam footage, Officer Anderson can be seen attempting to manage a police dog while opening the door to where Lewis slept. A light is turned on, illuminating Lewis, who can be seen raising his hands while trying to sit up. Anderson immediately opens fire, hitting and fatally wounding Lewis.

Anderson’s lawyer stated the officer believes he saw an “object” in Donovan’s hand, identified by Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant as a vape pen. This claim, however, appears to be little more than a cover up, attempting to shield the “30-year veteran” officer from his astonishingly lethal actions resulting in the murder of Donovan Lewis.

The Lewis family’s attorney, Rex Elliott, stated in a press conference following the killing: “There can be no question that excessive deadly force was recklessly used by Officer Anderson when he shot and killed an unarmed black man.”

Elliott has stated that the Lewis' family plans to file a lawsuit against Anderson and the city of Columbus, which has one of the highest rates of police shootings in Ohio and in the nation. The wholly unjustifiable killing of Donovan Lewis comes as part of a string of murders by the Columbus Police Department, including high-profile cases such as Casey Goodson Jr., Andre Hill and Ma'Khia Bryant. During protests after the murder of George Floyd, the CPD regularly took escalatory and excessive actions against demonstrators, including deploying militarized officers and armored vehicles, sonic weapons, and tear gas.

The family expressed appreciation for the outpouring of support from the community.

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