Man shot by Lawrence police makes first court appearance on own charges from incident

photo by: Nick Krug

Yellow police tape is stretched across the intersection of Sixth and Vermont streets as law enforcement officials investigate a shooting on Tuesday, May 29, 2018.

The man recently shot by a Lawrence police officer made his first appearance in court Wednesday on charges he picked up from the traffic stop-turned-brawl that preceded the shooting.

Akira S. Lewis, 35, of Lawrence, pleaded not guilty to all of his pending misdemeanor and traffic charges from two Douglas County District Court cases. He was ordered to come back for another hearing on Nov. 7, again before Judge James George.

Lewis is free on $100 bond in the traffic case, according to court records. George did not set a new or additional bond.

Lewis didn’t speak during the brief hearing. His attorney, Shaye Downing, entered the plea on his behalf and said she was now representing Lewis in both cases.

In his 2018 case stemming from the May 29 traffic stop and fight, Lewis is charged with battery against a law enforcement officer, interference with law enforcement and driving without proof of insurance, all misdemeanors. He’s also charged with failure to wear a seat belt, a traffic infraction.

In the 2017 traffic case, Lewis had a bench warrant out for months prior to the shooting, for failing to appear at previous hearings. He was arrested on that warrant Sept. 15, after a Lawrence police officer pulled him over because his tag didn’t match the vehicle he was driving. The initial charges in that case were speeding, no registration, no insurance and no license. 

photo by: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

Akira S. Lewis

The day Lewis was shot, an officer on patrol as part of a seat-belt enforcement campaign had pulled him over shortly after 5 p.m. May 29 in the 100 block of West Sixth Street. According to an investigation by the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office:

After Lewis repeatedly refused to provide his name, driver’s license or proof of insurance, the officer ordered him out of the car. When Lewis refused, the officer called for backup to help arrest him.

The two officers failed to physically force Lewis out of his SUV, but before more backup arrived, Lewis jumped out of the vehicle and punched and slammed the first officer to the ground.

The backup officer, Brindley Blood, fired one shot into Lewis’ back. She told investigators she thought she was deploying her Taser and mistakenly drew her pistol.

Blood is charged with aggravated battery, a felony. She is scheduled to make her first appearance in court Thursday afternoon.

Lewis’ Sept. 15 arrest also included a warrant for failing to appear in a municipal traffic case.

In that case, he was pulled over on May 31, 2017, and ticketed for allegedly failing to wear a seat belt, driving on a suspended license and having a tag not issued to the vehicle, according to the citation the Journal-World obtained from Lawrence Municipal Court.

Lewis has a municipal court hearing in that case on Oct. 3.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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