(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Body camera footage released by the Columbus Police Department shows events preceding the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Donovan Lewis.
“Donovan was a typical 20-year-old kid with a ton of friends,” Rex Elliott, the Lewis family attorney, said at a press conference Thursday. “Certainly, he had his challenges in life, but he was a very good person and loved very much.”
Lewis family members held each other close, some covering their ears and looking away as the body camera footage played on a screen at the press conference.
“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 said.
Columbus police say they traveled to Lewis’ apartment located in the Columbus, Ohio, Hilltop neighborhood around 2 a.m. Tuesday morning to arrest him on three separate charges — domestic violence, assault and improper handling of a firearm.
When police arrived, they identified themselves and stood outside the apartment for approximately eight minutes asking those inside to exit, the footage shows.
Two people eventually exit the apartment and police enter with a K-9, finding Lewis in bed, the video shows.
Officer Ricky Anderson, a 30-year veteran with the Columbus Police Department and K-9 unit, appears to open fire almost immediately after police open the bedroom door to where Lewis was sleeping.
In the footage, Lewis is seen raising his hands as he lies in bed. Anderson is then seen firing the single gunshot.
“Officer Anderson opened the door and almost immediately fired a shot into the bedroom as Donovan was trying to get out of bed,” Elliot said. “Donovan was unarmed and he was abiding by police commands to come out of his room when he was shot in cold blood by Officer Anderson.”
Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said Lewis appeared to be holding something in his hand, but only a vape pen was found on his bed and that there was no sighting of a weapon, at a press conference city officials held Tuesday following the shooting.
Lewis’ family plans to file a lawsuit against Anderson and the city of Columbus, according to Elliott.
“They want this officer punished, not permitted to be out on the street again,” Elliott said.
Anderson has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to the Columbus Police Department.
Mark Collins, the attorney representing Anderson, issued a statement Thursday obtained by ABC News, calling for a “thorough investigation.”
“When we analyze police-involved shootings, we must look to the totality of the circumstances, and we are expressly forbidden from using 20/20 hindsight, because unlike all of us, officers are not afforded the luxury of armchair reflection when they are faced with rapidly evolving, volatile encounters in dangerous situations,” Collins said.
A study released in February 2021, showed Franklin County, Ohio — which encompasses Columbus — has one of the highest rates of police shootings in Ohio and in the nation.
The study, conducted by the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health, ranked Franklin County 18th among the 100 most populous counties nationally on average for annual police-related fatalities.
In Columbus, there have been 62 shootings involving Columbus police officers since 2018, including Lewis’ shooting. Of those 62 shootings, 19 have resulted in a death, according to data from Columbus police and the Columbus Dispatch.
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