Donovan Lewis shooting highlights ‘persistent’ threat blacks feel in Columbus

Donovan Lewis Police said he was shot dead by Columbus officers who were trying to serve a felony warrant in his apartment building while he was in bed around 2 a.m. Tuesday. Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said officer Ricky Anderson opened fire when Lewis appeared to have “something” in his hand. He said he found the vape pen.

“How many more lives will be lost through this kind of reckless activity? How many more young black lives will be lost?” Lewis’ family attorney Rex Elliott said Thursday. said at a press conference.

Lewis joins a growing list of black people killed in law enforcement encounters in a city of nearly 900,000 people. Casey Goodson Jr.23-year-old, 16-year-old shot while entering home in 2020 Makia Bryant out of her foster home in 2021, Andre Hillthe 47-year-old was walking towards police officers in 2020 with a lighted cell phone in hand.
Data collected by Mapping Police ViolenceA nonprofit that tracks police shootings in the United States shows that at least 14 black people, mostly men, have been shot dead by Columbus Police Department officers in the past five years.
When city and county officials passed a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis in 2020, they addressed many areas, including health, poverty, economic mobility, education, crime and access to food. promised to address the disparities faced by people of color in the Allegations of Racism and Discrimination It continues to fuel distrust among the community within the ranks of the police department.

“There are good people in Columbus who know the problem is serious, but their knowledge doesn’t seem to listen to the problem at all, which is very worrying. I am writing a book.

Haygood, a visiting fellow at the University of Miami, Ohio who grew up in Columbus, said that black life in Columbus has been marked by interactions with law enforcement for generations. I remember white enforcement officers confronting demonstrators during racist protests and being stopped by police for no apparent reason.

“I didn’t want to be around police officers thinking they were trying to harm you,” he said.

In 2018, nearly 55% of CDP violent incidents targeted blacks, who make up less than 29% of the city’s population, according to police statistics.

Sean Walton, an attorney who represented the families of several black men killed by police in the city, began his career as a personal injury attorney but protested the death of a black man more than five years ago. He expanded his practice into civil rights litigation after meeting a family who had Relatives outside the courthouse.

Casey Goodson, Jr. was shot dead by a Franklin County Sheriff's Deputy in December 2020. His family and his attorney, Sean Walton, continue to demand accountability.

He filed his first lawsuit in 2016 and, within a year, filed lawsuits for three other black men who were killed by police at the time. Walton says it has proven “something that people in Columbus have known for a long time.”

“The recent mass shootings are not a new development,” he said.

The public attention to the aftermath of the police shootings and deaths “enlightened the nation about the relentless police threat black and brown people feel in our daily lives as Columbus citizens,” he said. Walton said.

There have been some changes in recent years, including ongoing racism with city officials acknowledging systemic racism. U.S. Department of Justice Review to Columbus Police Departmentbut activists, academics, and residents often perceive it as gradual, with “little or no urgency” and without full acceptance of community input.

Over the past few days, several groups in the city have described Lewis’ death as evidence of “grave and ongoing harm perpetuated against black people” at the hands of law enforcement, holding forums, prayers , began to organize protests. weekend.

“Black people deserve to live in communities that are safe, peaceful, and thrive, free from the threat of state-sanctioned violence.” YWCA Columbus said in a statement.


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