Preliminary hearing set for Lawrence police officer criminally charged for shooting motorist

photo by: Douglas County Sheriff's Office

Brindley D. Blood

A Lawrence police officer facing criminal charges for shooting a man after a traffic stop now has a key hearing scheduled for next month.

This week, Douglas County District Court Judge Peggy Kittel set the officer’s preliminary hearing for March 20, according to the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office.

Attorneys for 36-year-old Brindley D. Blood, of Lawrence, have asked that her charges be dismissed. They say she fired in defense of herself or others as allowed under Kansas’ “stand your ground” law.

Blood’s preliminary hearing and an immunity hearing, to argue the defense issue, had been scheduled in November. However, those proceedings were delayed to give DA Charles Branson and Blood’s lawyers, Michael Riling and Thomas Bath, more time to deal with disputes over what evidence and witnesses would be allowed.

Blood is charged with aggravated battery, a felony, for allegedly using a gun to “recklessly cause bodily harm” to Akira S. Lewis on May 29, 2018, in the 100 block of West Sixth Street.

Another officer pulled Lewis over for a seat-belt violation, then called for backup to arrest Lewis after he refused to provide his information, according to an outside law enforcement agency’s investigation of the incident, including video footage. Blood arrived, and the two officers tried unsuccessfully to physically force Lewis out of his SUV and arrest him.

According to investigators, Lewis launched out of the SUV and attacked the first officer, and Blood shot him one time in the back. She announced “Taser” before firing and later told investigators she meant to draw her Taser, not realizing it was actually her gun until after she fired.

“Lewis repeatedly punched Officer (Ian) McCann and then threw him to the pavement in a choke-hold. Lewis was on top of Officer McCann and continued his assault when Officer Blood, seeing that Officer McCann had potentially suffered great bodily harm and was in further danger of great bodily harm, used justified force to stop the attack,” Blood’s attorneys wrote in a previous memo supporting their motion to dismiss her charges. The filing didn’t address the Taser-versus-gun issue.

Blood’s attorneys asked this week that the immunity hearing and the preliminary hearing be split up, and a date for the immunity hearing has not yet been set, according to Dorothy Kliem, trial assistant for the DA’s office.

Lewis was taken to a hospital and recovered.

Lewis is charged with multiple misdemeanor crimes from the incident, including battery on a law enforcement officer and failure to wear a seat belt. His case remains pending.

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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