Lawrence, KS – The Lawrence Police Department has released dashcam footage that captured the moment an officer shot a convicted felon as he was attacking one of her fellow officers (video below).
Lawrence Police Officer Brindley Blood, 36, later said she meant to use her Taser to subdue the irate suspect, not her duty weapon, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.
Officer Blood has been charged with felony aggravated battery amid accusations that she acted recklessly when she wounded the suspect.
The incident occurred at approximately 5:15 p.m. on May 29, 2018, when Lawrence Police Officer Ian McCann initiated a traffic stop on 35-year-old Akira Lewis for failing to wear a seatbelt.
Lewis pulled over in the 100-block of West Sixth Street and Officer McCann approached his vehicle to discuss the reason for the stop, dashcam footage showed.
But as soon as he told Lewis that he pulled him over for not wearing his seatbelt, Lewis stomped on the accelerator and the SUV lurched forward several feet.
Officer McCann jumped out of the way of the vehicle, and told Lewis to stop.
“Hey man – stop!” the officer said.
“What?” Lewis retorted indignantly as he brought the SUV to a stop. “I’m movin’, my family homeless, I’m tryin’ to go to f–king work at six, and you’re gonna stop me for a f–king seatbelt?”
Officer McCann calmly confirmed the reason for the stop, at which point Lewis demanded to speak with a supervisor.
“This is literally going to take only four minutes,” the officer assured him.
But Lewis continued to argue about being pulled over for a seatbelt violation, cursed at Officer McCann, and repeatedly demanded that the officer contact his “motherf–kin’ supervisor,” the video showed.
“Here’s the deal,” the officer said. “This is a simple traffic violation… We’re gonna take care of our business and I’m gonna get you on down the road.”
“If you’d like to make a complaint after that, you’re more than welcome to do so,” Officer McCann continued. “But I’m not gonna stand out here and have court with you and have an argument with you on the side of the road.”
He then asked Lewis to hand over his insurance and driver’s license information.
“If you give me that, I will get you your citation. I will get you on your way. You’ll be out of here in five minutes or less,” he said. “You can go pick up your kids, and you can go move your family.”
But instead of complying, Lewis accused Officer McCann of letting white drivers pass by, and claimed he was targeting him because he is black, the video showed.
“Get the f–k out my face,” Lewis yelled at him. “I’m already hot, I’m pissed off.”
Officer McCann noted that Lewis was making a bigger deal out of the traffic stop than necessary, but Lewis insisted that the officer was picking on him.
The officer finally warned Lewis that if his behavior continued, he was going to be placed under arrest.
“You wanna go to jail for a seatbelt violation? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!” Officer McCann told him.
Lewis assured the officer that he’d been taken to jail for a seatbelt violation in the past.
The officer gave him several more opportunities to comply, but Lewis remained obstinate.
When Officer Blood arrived at the scene, Officer McCann opened the driver’s side door and attempted to remove Lewis from the SUV.
Officer Blood tried to assist him by reaching into the passenger side of Lewis’ vehicle, but they were unable to budge him.
Officer McCann again asked him calmly to step out, at which point Lewis suddenly bolted out of the vehicle and attacked the officer, dashcam footage showed.
The irate suspect grabbed onto the officer and slammed him onto the ground in front of oncoming traffic, then punched him in the head.
Officer Blood rushed over to the melee.
“Taser! Taser! Taser!” she announced, just before she shot Lewis in the back with her duty weapon.
Lewis immediately stopped fighting and began yelling in pain.
“S–t – I shot him!” Officer Blood said, holstering her weapon.
Additional officers pulled up at the scene, and helped place Lewis in handcuffs.
Lewis was transported to a local hospital in stable condition. He was ultimately treated and released.
Investigators later discovered that Lewis had three outstanding warrants at the time of the incident. He was also previously convicted of felony aggravated battery in Douglas County, after he struck a man with a baseball bat in 2016, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.
He was sentenced to probation for that offense.
Lewis has been charged with misdemeanor offenses of driving without proof of insurance, interference with law enforcement, failing to wear a seatbelt, and battery against a law enforcement officer.
He was released from jail on a $2,000 personal recognizance bond, and is due back in court in June.
Last week, he admitted he was not wearing a seatbelt when Officer McCann pulled him over, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.
District Court Judge Peggy Carr Kittel watched the dashcam footage and heard testimony about the officer-involved shooting on March 20.
She is expected to announce whether or not she will bind Officer Blood over for trial on the aggravated battery charge later this week.
Tom Bath and Mike Riling, attorneys for Officer Blood, said that Lewis’ claims that he was racially profiled were a lie, and alleged that the only reason he didn’t want to hand over his identification was because he had active warrants.
Officer Blood, who had been with the Lawrence Police Department for about two months prior to the altercation, resigned from her position on Jan. 28, according to the Kansas City Star.
Lewis’ attorney, Shaye Downing, said that the officers escalated the situation, and claimed that it “could have been easily de-escalated by any number of interventions,” the Lawrence Journal-World reported.
“While it is easy to focus on Mr. Lewis’ reaction to perceived racial discrimination and the fact that he was engaged in a physical altercation with uniformed police officers, there are other concerning issues that warrant a serious discussion,” Downing told the paper.
“Officer Blood made no other attempt to intervene in the altercation and immediately resorted to lethal force against an unarmed man,” she said.
Downing alleged that Officer Blood acted recklessly and negligently when she mistakenly fired her duty weapon instead of her Taser, and claimed that Lewis suffered “permanent injuries” as a result.
“It is unfathomable, or at least should be unfathomable to us all that an officer of the community, trained extensively to protect its citizens would be held to a lower standard,” the attorney said. “Officer Blood’s use of her firearm when the circumstances call for her to use her Taser by her own admission was not only negligent but reckless.”
You can watch dashcam footage of the officers’ encounter with Lewis in the video below. WARNING – Graphic Content: