Donovan Lewis was unarmed when he was shot and killed by Columbus police in his own bed
Washington, D.C., August 31, 2022 – Today, Brady and Team ENOUGH join calls for justice in the name of Donovan Lewis, who was shot and killed in his own bed by a Columbus police officer. The incident was the third time in eight days that a Columbus police officer used lethal force. Two previous incidents included an officer firing a weapon during an altercation and a 17-year-old wounded by gun fire during a traffic stop. These incidents represent a disturbing trend, and Brady calls for an investigation into this lethal use of force. No person should be killed by police in their own home or have to fear violence at the hands of law enforcement.
Brady Senior Counsel and Director of Racial Justice Kelly Sampson shared:
“Police shot and killed Donovan Lewis while he was in one of the most vulnerable places a person can be — bed. As the investigation unfolds, some may point to the fact that the police were attempting to execute a warrant when they shot Mr. Lewis, as if to suggest that an alleged offense warrants immediate execution. No. Mr. Lewis, who was innocent until proven guilty, had the right to due process, counsel, and fair adjudication. And Mr. Lewis certainly had the right not to be shot for sitting up in bed. Donovan Lewis joins centuries of Black men killed by law enforcement, but he will never be a statistic. We therefore join his loved ones as they grieve his loss and demand accountability.”
Brady Ohio State Lead Erick Bellomy shared:
“Police have once again shot and killed an unarmed Black man. Donovan Lewis was simply laying in bed when he became the latest victim of Columbus law enforcement. This cannot be ignored — it’s time to address police violence in Columbus and across the country. Last year, Columbus made news for having the third highest number of children killed at the hands of law enforcement in the U.S. This is shameful and not getting the attention it deserves. We cannot be quiet and turn our back on all of those who have been killed by police violence — we must take action.”
Team ENOUGH Ohio State Lead Adrian Thomas shared:
“In the words of those who came before us, nothing has changed but the calendar. Another unarmed Black life has been taken by the violence and prejudice plaguing this city, this state, and this nation. Worst of all, it’s not being given the recognition it so rightly deserves. Columbus has been named one of the top cities for the death of children due to police violence. Donovan Lewis was sitting in bed when police shot him. That level of poor judgment and violent action is unacceptable for any authority to have. We need to do better to distinguish real danger from internalized and racialized hate and fear.”
About Police Violence:
Black Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white Americans and while we are 13 percent of the U.S. population, we are 31 percent of all police-involved fatalities.
Columbus law enforcement is a particularly bad offender in relation to racially biased police killings. Between 2013 and 2019, 27 of the 40 – or 67.5% – people killed by Ohio Police were Black, despite the Black people accounting for only 29% of the city’s population.
This number does not account for the daily injuries and instances of harassment, abuse, and threatening behavior, otherwise known as “over-policing” suffered by Black and Brown communities. Black and Brown residents are three times as likely to be searched by police when stopped, and are twice as likely to have force used or threatened whenever they're approached by police. A key example of this is in policies like “stop and frisk” that are rooted in discriminatory policing. Such strategies unfairly target communities of color and make even well-intentioned attempts at policing problematic.
Police-involved shootings, like other forms of gun violence, impact all people in the United States. American police kill more often than police of any other industrialized country. America’s extraordinary police shooting rate is, in part, a product of our extraordinary civilian carry rate. And unfortunately, officers mistakenly perceive that unarmed Black civilians are carrying guns more than other groups.
Brady supports efforts to combat police violence including community-oriented, accountable policing.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.