COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus police came under criticism Thursday for the killing of a man who was lying on his bed when an officer trying to serve warrants fatally shot him, as a lawyer representing the slain man’s family demanded immediate changes to policing in the city and promised a lawsuit.
Not enough has happened in Ohio’s capital city to alter policing practices despite several instances of white officers in the city shooting Black people, added attorney Rex Elliott, representing the family of Donovan Lewis, the Black man killed Tuesday.
“How many more lives are going to be lost to this type of reckless activity? How many more young Black lives will be lost?” Elliott said at a news conference attended by multiple members of Lewis’ family.
“How many more families like Donovan’s will need to appear at news conferences like this one before our leaders do enough to put a stop to these barbaric killings?” Elliott said.
The US Justice Department agreed in 2021 to review Columbus police department practices after a series of fatal police shootings of Black people — including the April 2021 killing of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant — and the city’s response to 2020 racial injustice protests.
In addition, a three-year police contract approved last year provided $200,000 buyouts for up to 100 officers with at least 25 years of experience, with a goal of clearing the decks of employees who might not be on board with the department’s new direction.
“If you’re going to police in the city of Columbus, you have to buy into the vision and leadership of Chief Bryant around change and reform,” Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said at the time.
The city also approved a first-ever civilian review board. Elliott acknowledged these actions, but said it’s not enough.
“Whatever they’re doing,