Columbus DSA Statement on the Murder of Donovan Lewis by Officer Ricky Anderson of the Columbus Division of Police

Donovan Lewis was a son, a brother, a sports fan, and a music-lover. He lived in Columbus surrounded by his family and friends. At 20 years old, his life was stolen from him by Officer Ricky Anderson in the early morning of Tuesday, August 30, 2022. While serving a warrant for his arrest, Anderson opened Mr. Lewis’s bedroom door and immediately fired his weapon, striking Lewis in the abdomen. Officers then handcuffed Donovan and carried him out onto the street. He was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead soon after.

Columbus DSA rejects the notion that there is any possibility the shooting was justified. Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant defended Anderson’s actions, saying that it appeared Lewis was raising an object in his hand at the moment police opened the door. In truth, a vape pen was the only object found on the bed after the shooting. Despite being a 30 year veteran of the force, Anderson did not hesitate even briefly before killing Donovan, opening fire in a split-second. Anderson had no opportunity to identify a weapon on Lewis’s person, nor did he afford Mr. Lewis an opportunity to surrender before ending the young man’s life. What the people of Columbus have witnessed—and what the released body camera footage demonstrates—is yet another murder in cold blood perpetrated by law enforcement against an unarmed Black person.

The murder of Donovan Lewis comes as the most recent in a series of local police killings of Black people, commonly young and/or unarmed. Columbus remembers the shooting of 16 year old Ma’Khia Bryant by Officer Nicholas Reardon, the murder of 23 year old Casey Goodson Jr. by Deputy Jason Meade, and the assassination of 47 year old Andre Hill by Officer Adam Coy. The Columbus Dispatch recently reported that of the 62 Columbus police shootings since 2018, 19 have been fatal, and of the 19 people killed, 12 have been Black. Time and time again, local law enforcement have demonstrated that they are unencumbered by any concern for Black life.

The Democratic Socialists of America remains an abolitionist organization, as does its Columbus chapter. We view the prison-industrial complex, including law enforcement agencies, as instruments of racial capitalism: the social and economic system governing American life. We believe that racial justice will not be possible until the white supremacist institutions of police and prisons are replaced by life-affirming alternatives. Columbus DSA reaffirms our commitment—shared with our comrades within and without DSA—to free America from the grip of mass incarceration. Together, we will build a society that respects human dignity irrespective of race and refuses to cage people as a solution to social problems. We will achieve food, housing, education, healthcare, and justice for the people of Columbus and beyond.
Justice for Donovan Lewis. Justice for Ma’Khia Bryant. Justice for Andre Hill. Justice for Casey Goodson Jr. Justice for all human beings who police officers have murdered and abused. Defund and abolish the Columbus Police Department

Scroll to Top