Donovan Lewis protests continue in Columbus with march to OSU campus

More than 100 protesters gathered at Goodale Park in the Short North on Saturday and marched to the Ohio State University campus, expressing anger and grief over body camera footage showing a Columbus police officer fatally shooting Donovan Lewis, 20, in the Hilltop neighborhood.

At Goodale Park, Dejuan Sharp, 39, of Hilltop, told the crowd that the march along the High Street and later across campus would bring attention to Lewis’s death.

“I know we were meant to be sitting here (in Goodale Park), where nobody cares when we walk out here, nobody cares when we’re shouting at buildings, empty buildings, but they’re gonna care when we let’s walk down this street,” Sharp said.

As the group marched along the High Street they chanted and called for justice for Lewis, and the group grew in numbers as some onlookers joined the march. At West 12th Avenue, the group walked towards the OSU campus, then back down Neil Avenue towards Goodale Park.

Dejaun Sharb sings while marching in front of the Justice for Donovan Lewis protest and march Saturday in Columbus.

After:Weekend protests, forum set to respond to police shooting of Donovan Lewis

As the group made their way up the High Street, towards OSU, they sometimes blocked traffic in both directions, sometimes blocking entire intersections. At one point, the driver of a van tried to drive into the crowd before backing away, away from the protesters. It does not appear that anyone was injured, and Columbus police then pulled over the van, giving the driver what appeared to be a ticket.

While some spectators heckled the marchers, others honked their cars in support or chanted alongside the marchers.

Lewis died early Tuesday morning after Columbus Police Officer Ricky Anderson fired a single shot into the 20-year-old’s bedroom almost immediately after opening the bedroom door.

Anderson, a K-9 handler and 30-year veteran who is on paid leave per division policy, and several other officers were trying to arrest Lewis on multiple warrants. Court records show Lewis was wanted on felony charges of improper handling of a firearm, violation of misdemeanor probation and misdemeanor charges of domestic violence and assault involving his pregnant girlfriend.

Lavenia Lewis of Columbus said she felt the need to participate in Saturday’s protest after seeing the body camera footage and being “really shaken” by what she saw, including officers handcuffing Lewis after he was shot.

“The way they treated him, he was a human being; nobody should be treated like that,” Lewis said. “I just want everyone to come together. When someone is arrested, I want them to be treated well.”

Ramon Obey II addresses a crowd of more than 100 who gathered in Goodale Park in Columbus on Saturday for the Justice for Donovan Lewis protest and march.

Ramon Obey II, one of the organizers of the event, called for Anderson’s arrest, an end to late night arrest attempts and a meeting between city officials and Anderson’s family. Lewis.

“We gave them chance after chance after chance,” Obey said. “How many more chances are we going to give them? Y’all want to reform (Columbus police)? We’ve always reformed (Columbus police).”

The Columbus Police Department’s Blue Vest Dialogue Team, which formed earlier this year, was also present at the protest. sergeant. Steve Dyer said the goal was to repair relations between protesters and police. Obey and several other organizers urged protesters not to interact with dialogue officers.

Dyer said the dialogue team was not conducting any investigations and was there to help facilitate the protest, but said he could understand why protesters might be wary of officers.

“We are still police officers and our community has been hurt by some police officers,” Dyer said. “We believe in what we do.”

Saturday was the second day of protests planned throughout the Labor Day weekend. A crowd of more than 150 protesters gathered outside the Columbus Division of downtown police headquarters on Friday, where Lewis’s parents spoke publicly about their 20-year-old son, remembering him as someone one with a good heart.

Another protest is scheduled for Sunday at 6 p.m. outside the Ohio Statehouse.

Ben Wallace stands at the side of the street holding a sign at the "Justice for Donovan Lewis" community service event Saturday on Sullivant Avenue in the Hilltop neighborhood of Columbus.

JUST Columbus Offers Community Aid to Hilltop Neighborhood Following Donovan Lewis Shooting

Also on Saturday, JUST, which stands for justice, unity and social transformation, held its regular community service event in partnership with other groups, during which participants distributed fresh produce and hot food, as well as clothing, hygiene supplies and other goods only a few blocks from Lewis’ apartment on Sullivant Avenue.

Although the event has been held every other Saturday for two years, JUST co-founder Faith Edwards said Saturday’s event was held in honor of Lewis. Dozens of people attended the event for help, access to supplies or both.

“He’s a member of the (Hilltop) community,” Edwards said. “A lot of people helping and unloading cars are just community people, so we’re trying to show that through tragedy, we can always try to lift each other up.”

Edwards said protests for racial justice and community aid are two sides of the same coin in making a difference, and that Saturday’s community service event was a way “to express the love towards each other” compared to the “sorrow and anger” of the protests.

“We support both – you go to police headquarters – it’s reactionary and it’s about what happened,” Edwards said. “We can push for defunding (of the police) and abolition, but it won’t happen overnight. What can happen overnight is really trying to be in the community and help each other.”

Kylene Hartman, right, picks up food during the Justice for Donovan Lewis community service event Saturday on Sullivant Avenue in the Hilltop neighborhood of Columbus.


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