The family of Donovan Lynch, a Black man who was fatally shot by a police officer last year, will receive a $3 million settlement from the city of Virginia Beach in a wrongful death lawsuit, according to Billboard. If you don’t recognize the name, the 25-year-old Black man was the cousin of legendary producer Pharell Williams, who is also from Virginia Beach.
The decision was announced on Tuesday. The lawsuit was filed by Donovan’s father, Wayne Lynch, in June 2021 against the city of Virginia Beach and the officer who killed his son, Solomon D. Simmon, who is also Black.
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Lynch’s shooting occurred on a warm March night near the city’s crowded boardwalk, which is lined with restaurants and hotels. The evening dissolved into chaos after separate outbreaks of gunfire. At least eight people were wounded and one woman, who was believed to be a bystander, was killed.
Lynch, 25, a former college football player, was at a nightclub with his friend when a shooting occurred outside, the lawsuit stated. The men left and walked 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 states.
Nearly a year ago in November 2021, a grand jury decided Simmons was justified in his shooting of Lynch and was not criminally charged with his murder. According to Billboard, police discovered that Lynch had a gun and a round in the chamber before he pointed his gun toward the area filled with police and people.
In a joint statement from the City of Virginia Beach and the Estate of Donovan Lynch, it read, “As we have learned more over time about the facts of that fateful night and encounter, we have come to understand that a series of unfortunate occurrences led to Donovon’s death that night – which in hindsight should never have occurred as it was later determined that neither Donovon nor the officer set in motion the events that transpired.”
In 2021, shortly after his cousin was killed, Pharell revealed that he was pulling his annual musical festival, Something in the Water, from Virginia Beach because of how they handled the death of Donovan. But last month, Pharell announced that his annual music festival would return to his hometown in April 2023.