Motorist who was shot after attacking Lawrence police officer receives probation

photo by: Sara Shepherd

Akira S. Lewis, of Lawrence, testifies Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Douglas County District Court during a preliminary hearing for a Lawrence police officer charged with aggravated battery for shooting Lewis as he attacked another officer who was trying to arrest him.

A motorist who was shot by police after a traffic stop turned violent has received 12 months of probation for battering an officer.

Lawrence resident Akira S. Lewis pleaded no contest Thursday in Douglas County District Court to battery against a law enforcement officer. Lewis was sentenced to 12 months of probation, required to take anger management classes, and must pay court costs and other fees, among other conditions.

The incident occurred on May 29, 2018, in the 100 block of West Sixth Street, at the north end of downtown, after Officer Ian McCann pulled Lewis over for a seat belt violation as part of a seat belt campaign. In police dashcam video, Lewis, who is black, contends he was racially profiled, refuses to provide McCann his license and registration and demands that a supervisor be called. McCann attempts to physically remove Lewis from the car and Lewis subsequently strikes and body slams McCann. Another officer, Brindley Blood, shoots Lewis within seconds after the physical altercation begins. Blood told investigators later that she meant to use her Taser, not her gun.

Dash cam video of Lawrence police shooting after traffic stop

Lewis was charged with battery against a law enforcement officer, interference with law enforcement and driving without proof of insurance, all misdemeanors, and failure to wear a seat belt, a traffic infraction.

Before accepting Lewis’ no contest plea on the battery charge, Judge James George informed him that battery on a law enforcement officer carried a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a maximum fine of $2,500 and that he did not have to follow the penalties called for in the plea agreement.

The plea agreement calls for Lewis to serve 12 months of supervised probation and no jail time. As part of his probation, Lewis must take anger management classes; maintain full-time employment or student status; have no contact with McCann or his family; and consume no alcohol or illegal drugs, subject to testing by his probation officer. Under the plea agreement, the other misdemeanor and traffic charges against Lewis will be dismissed.

Prosecuting attorney Aubrey Sample requested that George grant the conditions of the proposed plea agreement, which she said were worked out among the parties. She said the plea agreement took into account the wishes of McCann, who supported it. Sample noted that McCann was present in the courtroom, but said he did not wish to speak.

Lewis’ defense attorney, Shaye Downing, also said she agreed with the conditions of the plea agreement. That Lewis was shot during the altercation was not mentioned, but Downing said there were “lots of circumstances” related to the incident. When proceedings began, Downing also asked the judge’s permission for Lewis to remain seated because of a medical condition.

George said that he thought the parties had reached a reasonable plea agreement and agreed with the terms of Lewis’ probation. When asked by George if he wished to say anything, Lewis responded, “No, sir.” Under the plea agreement, Lewis must also pay $158 of court costs and a $60 probation fee.

Blood was also charged in relation to the incident, but Judge Peggy Kittel dismissed those charges in March, as the Journal-World previously reported. Prosecutors had alleged that Blood acted recklessly when she shot Lewis despite “extensive” police training. Kittel disagreed, saying Blood made a mistake and may have been negligent but evidence at the preliminary hearing did not support the felony of reckless aggravated battery.

As seen in the video, Blood yelled “Taser” before firing and later told investigators that she meant to use her Taser but mistakenly drew her gun. Blood, who was a rookie officer at the time of the incident, resigned from the police department in late January.


Previous coverage

March 27, 2019 — Judge dismisses case against Lawrence police officer who shot man, says evidence does not show she acted recklessly

March 25 — Lawrence police release video of officer shooting man after traffic stop

March 20, 2019 — Video shows Lawrence police officer shooting man attacking fellow cop; judge now weighing whether criminal charges warranted

Nov. 27, 2018 — Taser, firearms training expected to be raised in case of shooting by Lawrence police officer

Nov. 14 — Lawrence police officer who shot man asks judge to dismiss criminal charge

Sept. 27 — Lawrence police officer who shot motorist with gun instead of Taser faces judge

Sept. 26 — Man shot by Lawrence police makes first court appearance on own charges from incident

Sept. 6 — Affidavit: Rookie Lawrence police officer said she meant to tase man at traffic stop but shot him instead

Aug. 23 — Lawrence police officer charged in shooting of black motorist following traffic stop

June 11 — Attorney: Man shot by Lawrence police is home from hospital

June 8 — DA’s office now reviewing Lawrence police shooting case; details of incident remain on lockdown

June 6 — Following police shooting, some city leaders call for more police training, data regarding Lawrence traffic stops

May 31 — Driver shot by police is a Lawrence resident and father of 6, still recovering in hospital

May 30 — Investigators: Driver shot by Lawrence police was initially stopped for seat-belt violation, altercation ensued

May 29, 2018 — Lawrence police officer shoots person following traffic stop at busy downtown intersection; person in stable condition

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