Earlier this year, it was reported that Donovon Lynch, the cousin of Grammy Award-winning producer Pharrell Williams, was shot and killed by police officers during a bizarre weekend of shootings in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Now, Lynch’s father is suing the officer who fired the fatal shot and the City of Virginia Beach.
WAVY News 10 reported that Wayne Lynch, who is listed as the plaintiff, filed the suit on Monday, June 21, in U.S. District Court in Norfolk, Virginia. Wayne is reportedly requesting a trial by jury. He is also demanding $50 million in damages from the officer, who has not yet been identified by the Virginia Police Department, but is named in the suit as Solomon D Simmons III and the city.
Wayne alleges that Simmons, who had prior interactions with his son, used excessive force and acted with gross negligence when he shot and killed the 25-year-old in the 300 block of 20th Street on Friday, March 26. The suit further states that Lynch, a well-known member in the community of Hampton Roads, did not pose as a threat to authorities and was allegedly trying to leave the area with his friend Darrion Marsh when cops were investigating the gunshots heard late that night. The 6-foot-5, 305-pound former linebacker was described as “a gentle giant” and “was unmistakable as anyone else.” The documents, obtained by the news outlet, state that Simmons “immediately, unlawfully, and without warning” fired his gun twice at Lynch as he and the other gentlemen were walking to their cars.
Wayne also claims that the city failed “to properly train, instruct and/or supervise its police officers, including Officer Simmons, as to the proper circumstances under force” that would have prevented his son’s death. The night Lynch was killed, Simmons’ body camera was not on for “unknown reasons.”
The VPD claimed that Lynch wielded a weapon around the time of his death. However, in an interview with WAVY, Wayne said although his son carried a 9mm Ruger, it remained in his son’s pocket until he was shot. He also revealed that his son was licensed to carry and was the owner of a security firm.
Williams spoke out about the incident during an interview with Town and Country in which he firmly beed that Lynch’s race undoubtedly played a role in his killing. “Knowing that if Donovon had been white, he wouldn’t have gotten shot multiple times and left in the street for an inhumane amount of time, till the next morning, no gun in hand — that’s gravity,” he said. “The race of the officer doesn’t pertain to the conversation because if Donovon had been white, they would have never shot him like that.”
Meanwhile, in regards to the suit, Virginia Beach’s spokeswoman Julie Hill said, “We have not received service of the lawsuit , so we cannot comment.” She added, “Once we receive and digest it, we will respond to it appropriately.”