Virginia police officer who shot Donovon Lynch will not be charged
By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA newswire contributor
A grand jury has ruled that a Virginia Beach police officer who shot Donovan Lynch on March 26 would not face charges.
Lynch was shot by Virginia Beach Officer Solomon Simmons. Lynch is a cousin of musician and Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams. Lynch’s death has been under investigation since her shooting.
Lynch’s father recently filed a $ 50 million lawsuit against Agent Simmons. Simmons is black. The wrongful death lawsuit will likely go to court next year if it survives a dismissal motion filed by the city of Virginia Beach.
Lynch was armed with a gun at the time of the shooting which occurred on a night of violent activity by other people on the Virginia Beach oceanfront.
In a lengthy press conference on Nov. 30, Virginia Beach prosecutors said Officer Simmons was justified in protecting himself after Lynch allegedly cocked his gun and pointed it at a parking lot.
Officer Simmons’ body camera was turned off the moment he shot Lynch. Media reports reveal that there are conflicting witness statements regarding how Donovan Lynch was killed.
Lynch’s funeral earlier this year was attended by the Reverend Dr William Barber and many local politicians. His death reignited the debate around the political issue of qualified immunity and the liability of police officers for death and injury they might cause while on duty.
Over the past decade, there have been several deaths in custody shootings that have gained national attention. Most of them involved video footage. They include the police shootings of Eric Garner, George Floyd, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Philando Castille and Walter Scott.