Man shot by Lawrence police in May arrested after weekend traffic stop

photo by: Nick Krug

Some items lay on the ground outside a Ford Excursion that was involved in a shooting on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 near the intersection of Sixth and Vermont streets.

A man who was shot by a Lawrence police officer when a traffic stop devolved into a fight in May got arrested this weekend, after another traffic stop.

Akira S. Lewis, 35, of Lawrence, was arrested in connection with a traffic stop made by a Lawrence police officer about 9:40 p.m. Saturday in the 1500 block of West 23rd Street, according to jail records and corresponding police activity logs. He was booked into jail for allegedly failing to appear in court in two 2017 traffic cases, one in municipal court and one in Douglas County District Court.

Jail records indicate Lewis posted $100 bond and was released the same night.

Lewis was stopped because the tag that displayed wasn’t issued to the vehicle he was driving, and he was arrested on the two outstanding failure to appear warrants, according to Sgt. Amy Rhoads of the Lawrence Police Department.

Lewis’ warrant in the District Court traffic case has been active since before he was pulled over for a seat-belt violation on May 29, the incident that ended with him being shot, the Journal-World previously reported.

The bench warrant was ordered in January of this year after Lewis failed to appear at a December 2017 hearing in the case, according to court records in the case. The case was initially filed in July 2017 — alleging speeding, no registration, no insurance and no license. Lewis had twice requested and was granted several more months to get his driver’s license reinstated, get insurance and get his vehicle registered.

Lewis was never arrested after the May 29 traffic stop and shooting incident — on the traffic warrant, on his outstanding warrant for failing to appear in a similar Johnson County traffic case, nor on suspicion of the crimes he allegedly committed during the traffic stop (he was charged and ordered to appear in court later this month).

After being pulled over shortly after 5 p.m. May 29 in the 100 block of West Sixth Street, Lewis contested the stop and repeatedly refused to give his name or provide his driver’s license or proof of insurance, according to an investigation by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office that included video of the stop. The officer told Lewis he would be arrested for failing to do so, ordered him out of his SUV and called for backup when Lewis refused to get out.

Officer Ian McCann and the backup officer, Brindley Blood, tried and failed to physically force Lewis out of the SUV, according to Johnson County’s investigation. Then, according to the investigation, Lewis jumped out, punched McCann and slammed him to the ground.

As the men struggled, Blood pulled her pistol and fired one shot into Lewis’ back. She later told investigators that she intended to deploy her Taser and only realized after firing that she had pulled her gun instead.

Blood is charged with a crime in connection with the shooting: aggravated battery, a felony, for allegedly using a gun to “recklessly cause bodily harm” to Lewis. She is scheduled to appear in court on the charge Sept. 27.

Lewis is charged with several misdemeanors in connection with the traffic stop and the fight: battery against a law enforcement officer, interference with law enforcement and driving without proof of insurance. He’s also charged with failure to wear a seat belt, a traffic infraction.

Lewis’ first appearance in court on those charges is scheduled for Sept. 26.

Lewis also now has a court date in the traffic case he was arrested in connection with this weekend, Sept. 28. Johnson County investigators’ background check of Lewis confirmed his driver’s license had been suspended since September 2017 with no eligibility date for reinstatement, and that he’d been ticketed six times since 2010 for driving without a valid license.

Information about the municipal traffic case associated with this weekend’s arrest was not immediately available.

photo by: Contributed photo

Akira S. “Nell” Lewis

The Journal-World requested Lewis’ booking photo from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office but did not immediately receive a response about whether it would be released.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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