Former Columbus cop Ricky Anderson: A grand jury has accused Ricky Anderson, a former Columbus police officer, on counts of murder and reckless homicide in connection with the two years ago shooting death of Donovan Lewis, an unarmed man, while executing a search warrant. Lewis, a 20-year-old, passed away in the wee hours of August 30, 2022, in his house in the city’s Hilltop neighborhood. Police body cams filmed the event.
Officers were at Lewis’ home in the 3200 block of Sullivant Avenue to arrest him on multiple warrants, including domestic violence and assault. After knocking on the door for several minutes, two men emerged and were handcuffed. A K9 was then deployed into the room, and when the dog indicated the presence of a third person, the K9 handler opened the door and fired his gun, resulting in Lewis’ death.
‘We are relieved’
Following news of Anderson’s indictment, attorneys representing Lewis’ mother, Rebecca Duran, expressed relief, according to the WBNS. They maintained that the former cop unlawfully shot and killed Lewis while he was lying in his bed, a fact supported by the body camera footage.
Officer Ricky Anderson broke the law when he shot and killed Donovan Lewis as he lay in his bed, according to attorneys for Lewis’ mother. “We are relieved that a grand jury concluded what we’ve known all along Officer Ricky Anderson broke the law when he shot and killed an unarmed Donovan Lewis as he laid in his bed,” the attorneys stated.
The lawyers went on to say that “nothing has changed in almost a year, and CPD bodycam video clearly demonstrated this. “Mr. Lewis’ family understands that although there are many good officers trying their best to protect citizens when an officer violates policy or breaks the law, they must be held accountable,” they continued. “Mr. Lewis’ family is pleased that his killer will soon face a jury of his peers, but they are extremely disappointed that it took so long to come to this conclusion in the first place.”
“As prosecutors pursue Mr. Anderson in the criminal case, we will continue to fight for justice and accountability in our civil case. Our hope is that no other parent has to bury their child as the result of a reckless act by a member of law enforcement,” they further added.
The Columbus chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police released a statement in response to the indictment, raising concerns about the evidence presented to the grand jury. Executive vice-president of the union Brisn Steel said, “While the grand jury plays an important role in our system of justice, the grand jurors only hear the evidence the prosecutor wants it to hear. There is no defense attorney, no cross-examination, no judge, essentially no rules.”
Mark Collins, the attorney representing Anderson, said that the focus should not be on whether Anderson used deadly force but on the reasons behind his decision. He said “As we progress through litigation, the evidence will show that it was because he was justified in doing so.”
Ricky Anderson was ‘entirely reckless’.
The incident has drawn scrutiny and demands for answers from Lewis’ family. Rex Elliott, an attorney for the Lewis family, labeled Anderson’s actions as “reckless” at the time of the man’s death. He said, “The bodycam footage released yesterday afternoon says it all. In literally the blink of an eye, a Columbus Police Officer shot and killed Donovan Lewis, an unarmed young black man who was alone in his bed in the middle of the night. As a result of this entirely reckless behavior by a Columbus Police Officer, a family is left to grieve the loss of such a young soul.”
Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant expressed sympathy and grief over Lewis’ death and acknowledged the challenging situations officers face, where split-second decisions are required. She emphasized on her commitment to holding officers accountable for their actions and providing support when due.
Bryant reportedly said, “Donovan Lewis lost his life. As a parent, I sympathize and grieve with his mother. I grieve with our community. Every day, officers are put in compromising, sometimes life-threatening situations in which we are required to make split-second decisions.”
Bryant continued, “As the chief, it is my job to hold my officers accountable, but it’s also my job to offer them support and make sure I give that to them during the process.
‘If they do the right things for the right reasons, we will support them. If they do something wrong, they will be held accountable.”
As the legal process unfolds, questions surrounding the use of deadly force and the circumstances leading to Lewis’ death will be addressed in both criminal and civil cases. The indictment paves the way for a trial in which Anderson will face a jury of his peers.