A former police officer in Columbus, Ohio, has been indicted on murder charges in the August 2022 killing of a Black man who was fatally shot in bed while the police tried to serve a felony warrant.
Nearly a year after the fatal encounter, a Franklin County grand jury on Friday handed up the indictment against Ricky Anderson, 60, a white former K-9 officer, in the shooting death of Donovan Lewis, 20. In addition to the murder charge, Mr. Anderson, who retired from the Columbus Division of Police in March, was charged with reckless homicide, according to the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office.
Mr. Anderson, who was booked into the Franklin County Jail on Friday, is to be arraigned on Monday, when bail will be set and when he will enter a plea of not guilty, his lawyers said.
Mr. Lewis was fatally shot early on Aug. 30, 2022, while sitting up in bed as police officers were trying to serve warrants against him on charges of improper handling of a firearm, domestic violence and assault.
At a news conference on Friday morning, Mr. Lewis’s mother, Rebecca Duran, fought back tears as she said that the “bottom line is he should still be here.”
“I’m going to be grieving that for the rest of my life,” Ms. Duran said.
Rex Elliott, one of Ms. Duran’s lawyers, said at the news conference that “Donovan Lewis was given a death sentence.”
“It’s time for Ricky Anderson to be held accountable,” Mr. Elliott said.
Mark Collins and Kaitlyn Stephens, lawyers for Mr. Anderson, said in a statement on Friday that they had “fully anticipated” the indictment “with the grand jury process being under the dominion and control of the special prosecutors.”
“This case is not about if Ricky Anderson made the decision to use deadly force, but why he made the decision to use deadly force,” Mr. Anderson’s lawyers said. “As we progress through litigation, the evidence will show that it was because he was justified in doing so.”
The fatal shooting of Mr. Lewis is one of a number of high-profile fatal police shootings of Black people in the Columbus area that have spurred protests, led to a $10 million settlement in one instance and prompted the Department of Justice to review the city’s police.
Body-camera footage, published by The Columbus Dispatch, shows that Columbus police officers arrive at Mr. Lewis’s home around 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2022. They begin knocking on the door, asking those inside to come out.
A man who answers the door tells the officers that the others inside are sleeping, the footage shows. The police detain the man, and officers then unleash a dog to find Mr. Lewis.
A few moments later, the footage shows, Mr. Anderson opens the door to a bedroom and, within seconds, fires at Mr. Lewis. As Mr. Lewis, who was shot in the abdomen, flails on the bed, the officers yell at him to show his hands and “crawl out.”
About two minutes after Mr. Lewis was shot, a police officer is heard saying that they need to get Mr. Lewis “out to the medic.” Mr. Lewis was taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
In a statement in March announcing Mr. Anderson’s retirement that month, the police division said that he had “retired in bad standing due to the ongoing criminal and administrative investigations into the death of Donovan Lewis.”
Mr. Lewis’s family has also filed a lawsuit against Mr. Anderson and four other officers who were present when Mr. Lewis was killed.
Kate Pishotti, director of the Columbus Department of Public Safety which oversees the city’s police, said in a statement on Friday that “the death of Donovan Lewis is a tragedy for all involved.”
“We respect the process of fully independent investigations for police-involved shootings,” Ms. Pishotti said. “The grand jury has spoken, and now we must let this case work through the criminal justice system.”