The Ohio chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statement after Columbus police officers shot and killed Donovan Lewis, a 20-year-old Black man, on Tuesday. Reports show that Lewis was not armed when he was fatally shot in his own home.
“Our hearts are with Donovan’s loved ones, and all those impacted by this tragedy,” said Shela Blanchard, a volunteer with the Ohio chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Police violence is gun violence – we stand with the community in calling for a meaningful end to senseless police gun violence, which continues to disproportionately kill Black people in the U.S. We call on the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to conduct a thorough, independent, and transparent investigation.”
Research makes it clear that the city of Columbus in particular has a high rate of fatal police shootings. From 2016 to 2020, of the 25 largest cities in the United States, Columbus, Ohio ranked 7th among the cities with the highest rates of fatal police shootings, with an average of 5.5 fatal shootings per million residents, according to data from Mapping Police Violence. Black people in the U.S. are nearly three times more likely to be shot and killed by police than white people in the U.S.
Police gun violence is a form of gun violence, and it is essential that law enforcement agencies adopt meaningful use of force policies, which encourage de-escalation, utilize early intervention systems, and ensure that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable.
637 people die by gun homicides, including shootings by police, in an average year in Ohio. Learn more about police violence and gun violence here.