Donovan Lewis, killed by Columbus police officer, buried

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Crowds began gathering early Saturday morning for a funeral service for Donovan Lewis, the 20-year-old who was shot and killed by a Columbus police officer early August 30.

The parking lot at Christian Valley Missionary Baptist Church, 3330 Scottwood Road, at Barnett Road on the east side of Columbus, was full before visiting hours officially began at 11 a.m. Among the mourners waiting in a long line in the center of the chapel were Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and U.S. Representative Joyce Beatty, who met with members of Lewis’s family for about 15 minutes before the service to offer their condolences, a family spokesperson said.

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Mourners cry as they see Donovan Lewis’ coffin

Lewis’ body, in an open coffin, lay outside the chapel surrounded by flowers. Some mourners wept when they saw him.

“Don’t tell me people can’t change,” Pastor Donald Fitzgerald Jr. said. “We have to give them time to mature and change.”

Many friends and family members spoke of Lewis as a caring person who checked on his friends, asked how they were doing, and spoke highly of his mother; who wanted to help change the world; who loved art and music; who forgave; who was respectful to his elders and loved his family; who could quote Bible verses; who had an unborn child on the path he was excited about; and who we would miss.

Towards the end of the service, the crowd was asked to rise and gave Lewis a standing ovation.

An obituary distributed to the service said Lewis played high school basketball and football. “His high energy and enthusiastic personality made him both a handful and a ball of pleasure!” It said.

Reverend Jeremiah Posey Sr. addressed “all the young people who are going through the troubles and side effects of this other America” ​​rooted in a history of slavery and discrimination. He said young black men are “cut off” by the idea that they are a threat, not an asset. “But for the grace of God, that could have been me” when he was young, Posey said.

“He wasn’t armed. He wasn’t dangerous. He wasn’t America’s most wanted. He was just Donovan.”

Lewis “was just a young man and he deserves justice,” said Posey, who met Lewis on a camping trip and realized he was going through a life transition. He last saw her at a gas station and they talked in Posey’s truck. Lewis gave Posey his number.

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“To be completely honest with you, it touched my heart because I never called him. And it hurt me.”

The casket was closed and taken away in a shiny white hearse parked on the church lawn in a row of white limousines, as Lewis’ mother watched from the front row. Lewis must be cremated.

Westerville Central High School held a minute of silence Friday night for Lewis before the start of their football game against Upper Arlington. Lewis, a 2020 graduate of Westerville Central, played center linebacker and tight end.

Around 2 a.m. on August 30, multiple officers attended Lewis’ apartment in the 3200 block of Sullivant Avenue on City Hill to arrest him on multiple warrants, including a felony charge of improper handling of a firearm, a misdemeanor probation violation, and a misdemeanor. domestic violence and assault charges for an Aug. 10 incident involving his pregnant girlfriend, court records show.

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The confrontation between Donovan Lewis and the Columbus police

Body camera footage from Columbus police officers shows several officers at Lewis’s door, knocking for eight to 10 minutes and identifying themselves as Columbus police officers. One of the other two men in the apartment eventually opened the door and the police arrested them in handcuffs. They were later listed as witnesses, but their identities were not released by police and they were not charged.

A Columbus K-9 was then sent into the apartment to clear the unit, and the dog and sounds coming from the apartment that were picked up on audio from police body cameras indicated that it there was someone in a room next to the kitchen. The police warned anyone in the room to get out or they would unleash the dog on them.

However, Officer Ricky Anderson, a 30-year veteran of the city’s police division who was the dog handler, held the dog on a leash, a move a K-9 expert told The Dispatch was wise because releasing the dog would likely result in the suspect being bitten and would be an unnecessary use of force.

Anderson then slowly opened the bedroom door as a police sergeant with his gun drawn and his light trained on Lewis shouted “Hands!” as Lewis began to sit up in bed. In a split second, Anderson leaned into the doorway and fired a single shot that struck Lewis in the abdomen, fatally wounding him.

As officers handcuffed Lewis and assessed his injury, body camera video showed what Police Chief Elaine Bryant confirmed was a vape pen on the bed that appeared to have been in Lewis’s hand when the door was opened. opened. Officers then transported Lewis outside the apartment where they provided medical assistance, including CPR. Doctors took Lewis to OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 3:19 a.m.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is handling the shooting investigation.

Lewis’s death was the third shooting by Columbus police in eight days in August and sparked protests from police critics.


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