After the decision next Tuesday no charges against Virginia Beach police because the the death of Donovan Lynch, 25, in March, Lynch’s family and supporters expressed disappointment at the outcome of the investigation and made new calls for the federal government to handle the matter.
“We’re disappointed, but not surprised,” Wayne Lynch, Donovan’s father, said at a press conference among supporters on Wednesday. “This isn’t over, it’s just begun,” he added, calling on the Justice Department. “I need justice for my son.”
Right after taking the photo Lynch, which gained national attention, in part, because Lynch is a musician’s cousin and Virginia Beach native. Pharrell Williams, the Virginia Beach Police Department referred the investigation to the Virginia State Police.
But according to Virginia Beach Commonwealth Attorney Colin Stolle during a press conference on Tuesday, that independent investigation has stalled because some of the citizens who witnessed the shooting refused to cooperate.
In August, a special grand jury was convened to consider the case.
According to the grand jury report, after reviewing more than 100 hours of CCTV and body footage, as well as testimony from witnesses and experts, the grand jury found no probable cause. out to believe that Solomon Simmons, a Virginia Beach officer, shot “illegally” and killed Lynch. They agreed that he acted in “legitimate self-defence.”
On March 26, the night of the shooting, reports noted “chaos” at Virginia Beach where Lynch, a former 6’5″ black college administrator, and volunteer coordinator of youth in Virginia Beach, had dinner with a friend..
A nearby shooting that resulted in nine people being shot and was unrelated to Lynch drew a large police presence as they tried to locate the suspect and victim, the report said. After assisting a shot victim, Simmons turned the body camera off when he got back to his car, and when more gunfire broke out nearly 30 minutes later, he didn’t turn the camera back on as he ran into a parking lot. Parking has turned into a “war zone,” according to the report.
While leaving the parking lot, Simmons testified that he heard gunshots and saw a man standing near tall bushes. Someone shouted “gun, gun, gun” and Simmons shot Lynch, according to the report.
Simmons previously argued in court filings as part of the Lynch family’s ongoing civil lawsuit against Simmons that Lynch “stands up and turns around” with a gun in his hand and pointed at Simmons. before he shoots.
Among the report’s recommendations are protocols in place to ensure all body cameras are automatically turned on when officers are on duty. Lynch’s death led to the recent creation of a independent civil review board that will investigate civil complaints and police policies.
Local minister and activist Gary McCollum, who has supported the Lynch family, told The Daily Beast he was saddened by the lack of answers in the grand jury’s four-page report, as well as the news conference of the Lynch family. Law Office of the Commonwealth of Virginia Beach. . He noted what he deemed “unnecessary” in regards to Lynch’s height, weight and blood alcohol level during the press briefing.
McCollum said these points appear to be intended to “embarrass” Lynch’s character. He also said the investigation was not focused on what Lynch, a licensed gun owner at the time, was entitled to do amid a scene where more than 50 shots were fired before he was shot. .
McCullom told The Daily Beast: “The Second Amendment applies to everyone. “If you were licensed to carry a weapon and you heard 50 shots fired and you had a weapon on you, which you are legally allowed to have, what would you do?”
The Attorney General’s Office of the Commonwealth of Virginia Beach did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
McCullom noted that the grand jury report found no evidence that Lynch ever pointed a weapon at Simmons before he was shot and is only believed to have planted the gun as he hid behind the bushes. “A law-abiding gun owner with a license to carry that firearm would do exactly what Donovan did,” he said.
Aaron Rouse, a Black Virginia Beach City Councilman who said he was 6 years 4 years old and a concealed firearms license holder, echoed as much as he stood with the Lynch family at a press conference.
“I can only think about that night, that night with all the gunfire, and I was hiding behind a bush. I will also prepare weapons to protect myself,” he said.
Simmons is a Black officer, but McCollum said he believes Lynch’s race played a role in the shooting. “It was as if we were a threat,” he said. “All we are saying is that there is nothing that he did that was illegal. For that officer to fire his weapon three times at Donovan, it was not a ‘reasonable’ action. “
In a statement Tuesday, Simmons said he was “satisfied” to have his name cleared of misconduct.
“The past eight months have been a trying time for me and my family, as I am sure it has been for the Lynch family. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about that night,” Simmons said. “As the Grand Jury report states, I was placed in an extremely chaotic situation, a situation that forced me to make a difficult decision in an instant. My heart goes out to the Lynch family for their loss, and I will continue to pray for them as I have every day since this happened. “
Although it appears to have been settled in the case, the families of Lynch, McCollum and other advocates are still hoping for a deeper investigation.
“There are too many unanswered questions, underscoring the need for a federal investigation,” McCollum said. “That’s the only way to get answers. Only when the police investigate, the police can get what happened yesterday.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/outrage-grows-in-virginia-beach-after-decision-not-to-charge-cop-who-shot-and-killed-donovan-lynch?source=articles&via=rss Outrage surges in Virginia beach after decision not to charge police officer who shot and killed Donovan Lynch