Pharrell Williams’ family files federal lawsuit after cousin’s death by police

Pharrell Williams' family files federal lawsuit after cousin's death by police
Pharrell Williams (Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / DFree)

Pharrell Williams’ family has filed a federal lawsuit following the death of his cousin Donovon Lynch. Lynch was fatally shot by a Virginia Beach, Virginia, police officer in March 2021. Wayne Lynch, the father of Donovan Lynch, filed the lawsuit in Norfolk’s U.S. District Court and is seeking $50 million from the city and is requesting a jury trial. The suit also names officer Solomon Simmons as the alleged shooter, though the Virginia Beach Police Department hasn’t confirmed the officer’s identity.

Lynch’s family lawsuit claims the officer used excessive force against Donovon and states that the city failed to properly train their officers on the use of deadly force and other methods that could have been used to prevent his death. The suit also claims that Simmons acted with gross negligence, didn’t give any warning before firing the fatal shots, and failed to render any aid after the shooting.


According to WAVY-TV 10, police were responding to gunfire around 11:20 p.m. on March 26, 2021, when an officer came into contact with Lynch in the 300 block of 20th Street. Police said Lynch brandished a gun when officers arrived and was shot and killed. A firearm was recovered at the scene.

“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 25-year-old Lynch was a 2019 graduate of Virginia College at Wise and was on offensive lineman for the school’s football team during the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Lynch also was a volunteer with Pharrell’s Something in the Water music festival.

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