Pharrell’s cousin Donovon Lynch was shot and killed by a police officer at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront on March 26. According to WAVY-TV, his family is now suing the city of Virginia Beach for the death of the 25-year-old man.
Filed on Monday (June 21) in Norfolk’s U.S. District Court, a wrongful death lawsuit lists Lynch’s father Wayne Lynch as the plaintiff, who is demanding $50 million in damages and requesting a jury trial. The lawsuit says the city failed to properly train officers on the use of deadly force and other techniques.
Not only that, but he’s also seeking $350,000 against the officer who fired the fatal shots. Even though the Virginia Beach Police Department hasn’t confirmed the name of the officer, he’s named in the lawsuit as Solomon Simmons.
Lynch family seeks $50m from city “failing to properly train, instruct, and/or supervise its police officers, including Officer Simmons, as to the proper circumstances under which to draw a firearm and/or use deadly force.”@WAVY_News pic.twitter.com/L71UjAFvz7
— Andy Fox (@AndyFoxWAVY) June 21, 2021
The lawsuit claims Simmons used excessive force and acted with gross negligence when he shot and killed Lynch, while failing to properly identify himself or give any warning before firing shots and didn’t provide medical aid afterwards.
Simmons “immediately, unlawfully and without warning” fired his gun twice at Lynch, alleges the lawsuit, emphasizing he wasn’t a threat and was simply walking to his car to leave the area as police investigated gunshots at around 11:20 p.m.
For “unknown reasons,” the officer didn’t have a body camera on at the time. Attorneys say Simmons also knew Lynch beforehand, with the lawsuit pointing out he was “unmistakable as anyone else” due to his 6 foot-5, 305-pound build.
“They spent $5.5 million on bodycams and dashcams, and they’re not then utilized,” Wayne Lynch told WAVY-TV. “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.”
Pharrell recently opened up about attending his cousin Donovon Lynch’s funeral on his 48th birthday.
“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?”
He continued, “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.”