COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Family members of Donovan Lewis announced Thursday that they are filing a wrongful death lawsuit against multiple Columbus police officers, including Ricky Anderson, who fatally shot Lewis in bed during an attempted arrest in 2022.
The complaint filed in state court names Anderson and other officers who were involved in serving a warrant in August against Lewis, according to family attorney Rex Elliott. They noted as of Thursday, it had been 170 days since the group entered an apartment overnight and resulted in the shooting death of Lewis, 20, who was unarmed and sitting in bed.
While Anderson is named as a defendant for shooting and killing Lewis, it also includes the other officers there because attorneys said they did not comply with Andre’s Law.
“They did not provide immediate aid. Instead, what they did is they played for the bodycam audio and video suggesting that Donovan was resisting arrest,” Elliott said. “We know from our medical doctors that that’s just not possible. … Many, many precious minutes went by before aid was administered to this young man as his life was rapidly drifting away.”
The office of Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, which typically represents the Division of Police in court, said it had no immediate comment, partly because it has yet to receive the report of the incident from the state Bureau of Criminal Investigations.
“While BCI completed their investigation into the facts of this incident, we have not yet seen the contents of that report because it is currently at the County Prosecutor’s Office awaiting grand jury presentation,” a statement read, “We have just received a copy of the [family] lawsuit … but are still reviewing it.”
See the news conference where Donovan Lewis’ family and attorneys announced the lawsuit in the video player below.
The family’s attorneys added that the City of Columbus is not named in the filed complaint, because it would need to be sued in federal court. Elliott hinted that a separate filing could come in the near future. Rather than doing that, however, his team would like to have an audience with city officials to discuss police reform.
Read the filed lawsuit complaint by clicking here.
Earlier reporting on the death of Donovan Lewis can be seen in the player below:
Two weeks prior to announcing the lawsuit, Lewis’ mother, Rebecca Duran, pleaded at a news conference that Anderson be fired. After the shooting, Columbus police placed him on leave pending an investigation.
The family’s civil case is separate from any criminal repercussions that could arise for Anderson. In December, the Franklin County prosecutor’s office said it would be presenting a case to a grand jury. Elliott said at the news conference that it had been nearly 70 days since BCI’s report came back, and there still had not been any hearing for an indictment.
Body camera video showed Anderson shot Lewis while he and other officers served an arrest warrant after Lewis had been accused of domestic violence. While wrangling a K9 and within one second of opening the door, Anderson shot Lewis as he sat up in a bed.
NBC4 has an edited and redacted version of the body camera footage below. Some may find its contents disturbing.
Anderson’s personnel record found he had no violations related to the use of force. The records did show that CPD previously terminated Anderson but that he won his job back. He had been fired for taking pay for guarding a bank when he wasn’t there. However, an arbitrator reinstated Anderson, saying the city couldn’t prove which hours he didn’t work.