Ohio Police have released bodycam footage of the moment an officer fatally shot an unarmed Black man in his bed.
Donovan Lewis, 20, was possibly holding a vape pen that the Columbus Division of Police might have confused with a gun while they were serving a felony warrant on his Sullivant Avenue apartment at 2am on Tuesday, the department said during a press conference later that day.
Harrowing bodycam video shows the moment officer Ricky Anderson, a 30-year veteran with the department, holds a barking K-9 unit outside Mr Lewis’ bedroom and orders him to come outside. Mere seconds later, Mr Lewis is fatally shot by Officer Anderson.
Mr Lewis was then handcuffed and ordered not to “resist,” as his limp body lay in bed face down. He was being sought by police on domestic violence, assault and improper handling of firearm charges, the department said during a press conference on Tuesday, CNN reported.
Rex Elliot, a lawyer for the Lewis family, decried the shooting and said that it was yet another example of brutal policing and racial profiling in the Columbus Division of Police.
“How many more lives are going to be lost to this type of reckless activity? How many more young Black lives will be lost? How many more families like Donovan’s will need to appear in news conferences like this one before our leaders do enough to put a stop to these barbaric killings?” Mr Elliott said, according to The Columbia Dispatch.
Mr Elliot also questioned why the felony warrant was served at 2am.
Donovan Lewis was fatally shot when police was serving a felony warrant
“There needs to be a lot of a heck more thought before something like this occurs,” he said. “It’s pretty clear that some members of the Columbus Police Department have no idea what these individuals and kids go through in these underserved communities.
“I truly believe there has to be a better understanding from the police department before they go into these communities. They just don’t get it.”
Officer Anderson has been placed on leave pending an investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said on Tuesday that police had knocked on the apartment door for eight to 10 minutes before entering. She said two men were arrested and a K-9 was sent inside the place because authorities believed there were more people inside.
Officers entered the room and handcuffed Mr Lewis after he had been shot
(Columbus Division of Police )
“The officers knocked on the door for several minutes … acknowledging themselves as Columbus Police officers,” Chief Bryant said.
During the press conference, she also reviewed the bodycam video and said Mr Lewis appeared to be holding something in one hand. She said investigators later found a vape pen in his bed.
The bodycam video shows the two arresting officers urging Mr Lewis to crawl out of the room after he had been shot. When he failed to do so, officers entered the room and handcuffed him as a small pool of blood began to form on the bedsheets under Mr Lewis’ body.
After he was handcuffed, officers carried his body to the first floor, where paramedics performed CPR on the injured man. Mr Lewis died at the hospital around 3.20am, police said.
“There was no justification, let me be clear, no justification for officer [Ricky] Anderson to shoot an unarmed man trying to get out of bed as police officers were instructing him to do,” Mr Elliot said.