Protesters march on OSU’s campus Saturday to protest the police shooting of Donovan Lewis

More than 100 protesters gathered Saturday at Goodale Park in the Short North and marched to Ohio State University’s campus, expressing anger and sadness over dash cam video showing a Columbus police officer fatally shooting Donovan Lewis, 20, in the neighborhood Hilltop.

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

“I know we had to sit here (in Goodale Park) where nobody cares when we come out here, nobody cares when we yell at buildings, buildings that are empty, but they’ll care when we walk down this street. Sharpe said.

Dejaun Sharb chants while walking in front of the Justice for Donovan Lewis protest and march on Saturday in Columbus.

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

Donovan Lewis shoots: Weekend protests, forum planned to address police shooting of Donovan Lewis

Driver tries to drive van through crowd of protesters shooting Donovan Lewis

As the group headed up High Street, toward OSU, it sometimes blocked traffic in both directions, occasionally blocking entire intersections. At one point, the driver of a truck tried to drive into the crowd before reversing out of the way of the protesters. No one appeared to be injured, and Columbus police later pulled the truck over, giving the driver what appeared to be a traffic ticket.

While some bystanders held back the protesters, others honked their cars in support or shouted alongside the protesters.

Lewis was shot in his home by a Columbus police officer

Lewis died early Tuesday morning when Columbus police officer Ricky Anderson fired a 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 from the department, and several other officers were trying to arrest Lewis on multiple warrants. Court records show Lewis was wanted on felony counts of improper use of a firearm, violation of probation and misdemeanor counts of domestic violence and assault involving his pregnant girlfriend.

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

“The way he was treated, he was human; no one should be treated like that,” Lewis said. “I just want everyone to come together. When someone gets arrested, I want them to get the right treatment.”

Ramon Obey II speaks to a crowd of more than 100 people gathered Saturday at Goodale Park in Columbus for the Justice for Donovan Lewis protest and march.

Ramon Obey II speaks to a crowd of more than 100 people gathered Saturday at Goodale Park in Columbus 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 efforts and a meeting between city officials and Lewis’ family.

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

Also present at the protest was the Columbus Police Blue Vest Dialogue Group, which was formed earlier this year. Sgt. Steve Dyer said the aim was to repair relations between protesters and police. Obey and several other organizers urged the protesters not to interact with the dialogue officers.

Dyer said the dialogue group does no investigation and is there to help facilitate the demonstration, but said he can understand why protesters might not trust officers.

“We’re 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 planned protests throughout the Labor Day weekend. On Friday, a crowd of more than 150 protesters gathered outside Columbus Police Headquarters in downtown Columbus, where Lewis’ parents spoke publicly about their 20-year-old son, remembering him as someone with a kind heart.

Another protest is planned for 6 p.m. Sunday outside Ohio State.

JUST Columbus offers community help to Hilltop neighborhood after Donovan Lewis shooting

Also on Saturday, JUST, which stands for Justice, Unity and Social Transformation, held its regular community service event in collaboration with other groups, during which participants distributed fresh produce and hot food, as well as clothing, hygiene items 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 to either help out, access supplies, or both.

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

Edwards said that racial justice protests and community outreach are two sides of the same coin to make a difference, and that Saturday’s community service event was a way to “show love to each other” compared to the “sadness and anger” of the protests.

“We support both — go to police headquarters — that’s reactive and it’s about what happened,” Edwards said. “We can push for (police) defunding and repeal, but those aren’t going to happen overnight. What can happen overnight is really trying to be in the community and help each other the other one”.


This article originally appeared in The Columbus Dispatch: Donovan Lewis protests continue in Columbus with march on OSU campus

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