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Ohio police release bodycam video after officer fatally shoots Black man

Columbus Police Officer Ricky Anderson shot Donovan Lewis, 20, shortly after he encountered him as the young man appeared to raise a hand with something in it. Police said a “vape pen” was later found on the bed next to him.

Police in Columbus, Ohio, released body camera video Tuesday after an officer fatally shot a 20-year-old Black man within seconds of encountering him while they were trying to serve an arrest warrant earlier in the day.

In the video, which was released at a news conference, an officer can be seen firing at the man, whom police identified as Donovan Lewis, shortly after they found him in an apartment Tuesday morning. Lewis appears to sit up in bed and raise a hand in the moments before he is shot.

Chief Elaine Bryant said at the news conference that Officer Ricky Anderson fired his gun when Lewis appeared to raise a hand with something in it, NBC affiliate WCMH of Columbus reported. Bryant said a device appearing to be a "vape pen" was later "found on the bed right next to him." No weapon was found, police said.

Anderson, a 30-year veteran of the force who was assigned to the canine unit, was placed on paid leave, which is protocol for officers who shoot their weapons on duty, police said.

NBC News has asked Anderson and the police union for comment.

"Donovan Lewis lost his life. As a parent, you know, I sympathize, and I grieve with his mother," Bryant said. "As a community, I grieve with our community, but we're going to allow this investigation to take place."

Officers had been trying to serve a felony warrant at an apartment just before 2:30 a.m., Columbus police said in a news release Tuesday.

The body camera video shows the moments leading up to the incident after officers arrived at the apartment. In the video, officers knock on the apartment's front door before a man eventually answers and is taken into custody. Another man who was encountered in the entrance of the apartment was also detained, WCMH reported.

Officers can later be seen inside the apartment with a police dog, which appears to start barking at a back bedroom door. Officers advance on the door, and Anderson, gripping the dog’s collar in one hand, pushes it open with the other before he fires his weapon shortly after.

Police said officers provided aid to Lewis until Columbus fire medics arrived and took him to a hospital.

Lewis was pronounced dead at the hospital within an hour, at 3:19 a.m., police said.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has opened an investigation, police said. The bureau did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lewis' death comes less than two years after a Columbus police officer lost his job days after he fatally shot a Black man who was found to have been unarmed.

In May 2021, the city of Columbus reached a $10 million settlement with Andre Hill's family over the deadly shooting.

It also comes after the fatal police shooting of Ma’Khia Bryant, 16, who was killed by a Columbus police officer in April 2021.

In that case, Officer Nicholas Reardon was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing after he fatally shot Bryant, who was Black, as she swung a knife at a young woman whom she had pushed to the ground. Police were responding to a 911 call made from Bryant’s foster home that a group of girls were threatening to stab members of the household.

In September, the Justice Department agreed to review Columbus police practices following a request Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and City Attorney Zach Klein made in April after a number of shootings by police officers, including those resulting in the deaths of Hill and Bryant.

Announcing the review in September, Ginther said the Justice Department’s involvement was “not about one particular officer, policy or incident.”

“Rather, this is about reforming the entire institution of policing in Columbus,” he said. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.