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Mother of man fatally shot by Columbus police renews call for officer to be held accountable

ABC News

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Following the disciplinary actions and murder charges brought against several officers involved in the death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee, Rebecca Duran, the mother of Donovan Lewis, renewed her call Tuesday for the Columbus, Ohio, police officer who fatally shot her son last year to be terminated and charged.

“If it can be done in a swift manner anywhere, it can be done swiftly here,” Duran said at a press conference. “Yesterday was five months since the murder of my son, and for the most part there hasn’t been any action when it comes to the reprimanding or termination of Ricky Anderson.”

Lewis, a 20-year-old expectant father, was fatally shot by Officer Ricky Anderson on Aug. 30, 2022. He later died at a hospital.

Columbus police have said they went to Lewis’ apartment around 2 a.m. to arrest him on three separate charges: domestic violence, assault and improper handling of a firearm.

When police arrived, they identified themselves and stood outside the apartment for approximately eight minutes asking those inside to exit, body camera footage shows. Two people eventually exit the apartment and police enter with a K-9, finding Lewis in bed, the video shows.

The footage, played during the press conference Tuesday, appears to show Anderson, a 30-year veteran with the Columbus Police Department and K-9 unit, open fire almost immediately after police open the bedroom door to where Lewis was sleeping.

In the footage, Lewis is seen raising his hands as he lies in bed. Anderson is then seen firing the single gunshot.

Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant previously said Lewis appeared to be holding something in his hand, but only a vape pen was found on his bed and that there was no sighting of a weapon.

Duran told ABC News’ Linsey Davis in September that “there was no attempt to preserve his life.”

Several months after Lewis’ death, Duran said “there’s no accountability whatsoever.”

The Columbus Police Department has previously said Anderson was on paid administrative leave.

During the press conference this week, Rex Elliott, an attorney for Lewis’ family, applauded Memphis leadership’s action against the officers involved in Nichols’ beating and read statements from Columbus community leaders condemning how Nichols was treated by Memphis police. Attorneys for two of the Memphis officers have said they will plead not guilty.

“With all due respect, do something here in Columbus,” Elliott said, criticizing Columbus’ lack of punishment against its own law enforcement. “It is time for the other officers who acted inappropriately in this situation with Donovan, that they be handled, and that … Officer Anderson be indicted and charged with homicide.”

“We need to let the criminal process work here in Columbus like it is working in Memphis,” he added.

Michael Wright, an attorney for Lewis’ family, said the Bureau of Criminal Investigation completed its investigation in December.

In a statement to ABC News on Wednesday, Sgt. David Scarpitti, public information officer for the Columbus Division of Police, said: “Once the investigation is completed, BCI forwards the investigation to the Franklin County Prosecutor, who will present the evidence to a grand jury.”

“Once the criminal process is completed, the Office of the Inspector General may conduct an administrative investigation if a complaint is filed or if the Civilian Police Review Board initiates a complaint in order to determine if the officer’s actions were within policy,” he continued. “The IG’s findings go to the Civilian Review Board for review and recommendation of discipline and/or policy changes.”

According to Scarpitti, the Collective Bargaining Agreement requires that recommendations regarding discipline undergo review by the chain of command, which “may rise to the level of the Chief and then the Director of Public Safety.”

“Officer Ricky Anderson is still employed with the Division of the Columbus Police while this process takes place,” Scarpitti said.

Mark Collins, the attorney representing Anderson, did not yet respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

In a previous statement to ABC News, Collins said: “When we analyze police-involved shootings, we must look to the totality of the circumstances, and we are expressly forbidden from using 20/20 hindsight, because unlike all of us, officers are not afforded the luxury of armchair reflection when they are faced with rapidly evolving, volatile encounters in dangerous situations.”

Remembering her son, Duran said she misses Lewis’ sense of humor and his smile the most.

“He had a lot of life in him and had a lot of life left, and he’s not here to be able to live that to his full potential,” she said.

“If something is not done, I can promise you as we sit here and do nothing, it’s going to happen again,” Elliott added, of deadly encounters with police, “and none of us want that.”

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