*Pharrell Williams revealed in an emotional post that one of the victims in the Virginia Beach shooting on March 27 was his cousin, 25-year-old Donovon Lynch. Now the victim’s father has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the Virginia Beach police.
As previously reproted on EURweb, per NBC News, Lynch was killed along the city’s popular Oceanfront strip of hotels and restaurants shortly after several others were wounded in two nearby shootings. Police claim Lynch had a handgun when he came in contact with officers responding to the shootings. He was fatally shot by a Black cop, Solomon Simmons, whose body camera had not been activated.
Speaking to WAVY-TV Lynch’s father noted “They spent $5.5 million on bodycams and dashcams, and they’re not then utilized,” Wayne Lynch said. “They know my family, they know we not like this. It ain’t anything to do with none of that, and for them to betray him like that is wrong.”
Here’s more from NBC.com:
Lynch’s father said in a lawsuit filed Monday that his son was not involved in the violence but was “unlawfully” shot twice and killed by Officer Solomon Simmons. According to the suit, Lynch was at a restaurant with a friend when gunfire rang out around 11:20 p.m. ET March 26. Lynch and his friend decided to leave and were walking toward their cars when they encountered Simmons.
“Immediately, unlawfully, and without warning, Officer Simmons fired his police-issued firearm at Mr. Lynch, shooting him twice and killing him,” the lawsuit says. “At all relevant times, Mr. Lynch was not speaking or acting in a manner that would suggest that he posed any threat, let alone a deadly threat, to Officer Simmons or anyone else.”
The lawsuit states that Simmons failed to identify himself as law enforcement when he encountered Lynch, and that the “shooting was motivated at least in part by Mr. Lynch’s race as a Black man.”
The lawsuit names Simmons and the City of Virginia Beach as defendants. The suit does not mention if Lynch was in possession of a firearm during his encounter with police. According to the family’s attorney, Lynch owned a security business and had a license to carry.
The family is reportedly seeking $50 million in damages, as well as $350,000 from Simmons. They are also calling for a federal investigation into the killing.
In a recent interview, Pharrell shared his feelings about his cousin’s murder.
“We had to bury my cousin on my birthday,” he said. “It was bittersweet. The way he died was bitter. Where he is right now is sweet. I wasn’t able to deliver the speech with the fire and intention I wanted because I was just choked with emotion. It’s not just the loss of life. It’s also the cause of the loss of life. And it’s a much larger problem, you know?
“Knowing that if Donovan had been white he wouldn’t have gotten shot multiple times and left in the street for an inhumane amount of time, ’til the next morning, no gun in hand—that’s gravity. The race of the officer doesn’t pertain to the conversation, because if Donovan had been white they would have never shot him like that. So there is gravity. And there, too, is hope that things will change.”