Donovan Lewis was lying in bed Monday through Tuesday night in Columbus, Ohio. Perhaps he was asleep when he began to hear a dog barking in his house, at 2:30 in the morning, as if it were a nightmare. He will never know. What is known thanks to a police video is that the last thing he saw was a police officer opening the door to his bedroom, without having knocked beforehand, and shooting a second later. Lewis was 20 years old and died from that shot.
The Columbus police have released the overwhelming video, taken with the cameras that the agents are required by law, in which it is appreciated that the policeman barely gave the man time to react since he opened the door. Lewis, an African-American, was unarmed and made no threatening gesture, only slightly raising an arm. He only got up after someone opened the door to his room in the middle of the night.
The police have shown some images in which the agents are seen knocking on the door of the house (not the bedroom). Police officials say they were calling from 8 to 10 minutes. They were on a warrant for mishandling a firearm, domestic violence and assault, according to police.
After pounding on the door of the house, two men came out who were handcuffed and warned that there were more people sleeping inside. Seeing that no one opened, the police called a canine unit to enter the house with a dog to indicate if there was anyone in the house.
The police assure that there were new warnings so that if there was someone, they should leave before releasing the dog through the house and nobody reacted. The video shows that the dog pointed to the door of the room where Lewis was and barked repeatedly. The policeman approached, opened the door without knocking and when he saw the young man, he fired.
“We are committed to full transparency and sharing as much information as possible as quickly as possible regarding the tragic death of Donovan Lewis. That is why we have published the images of the body cameras and the details of the arrest warrant approximately 12 hours after the incident”, has assured in a tweet Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther. “The state Bureau of Criminal Investigation is investigating, but a thorough count takes time. The boss [de policía] Bryant and I join the Donovan family in their mourning, and we echo their calls for peace.” has added.
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The chief of police, Elaine Bryant, also black, has indicated in a press conference broadcast on television: “As a mother, I sympathize and agree with her mother. As a community, I grieve with our community. We are going to allow this investigation to take place.” According to Bryant, the shooter was Ricky Anderson, a 30-year veteran of the police department’s canine unit officer who alleges that he pulled the trigger after the man raised his hand and that it appeared to have something on it. A vape cartridge was later found by the bed.
Officer Anderson, who is suspended pending investigation, fired only once. After unleashing the fatal shot against Lewis, the policemen handcuffed him and only later called for assistance. An ambulance took him to hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:19 a.m.
Lewis goes on to join the long list of African-Americans killed by the actions of the security forces in the United States. Also in Ohio, but in the town of Akron, officers fired up to 90 times at a man who had committed a traffic violation and tried to escape from the police. That murder provoked strong protests.
In Columbus itself, the state capital, in 2016 the police killed a 13-year-old black boy carrying a toy gun. In 2020, a 47-year-old black man was killed in a garage by an officer after responding to a call about a suspicious vehicle, but without cause. The municipality agreed to pay the relatives a compensation of 10 million dollars, the largest agreed in the city.
The murder of Travon Martin, a 17-year-old boy, in Orlando (Florida) in 2012, generated the Black Lives Matter movement, but it was that of George Floyd, suffocated in Minnesota by an agent, which sparked the largest wave of protests and mobilizations throughout the country.