Lawrence, KS — In the land of the free, if a police officer sees you in your own car and you do not have your seat belt on, they will claim the right to detain and extort you. If you refuse to be extorted, they will then claim the right to kidnap and cage you. If you resist this kidnapping over a seat belt violation, you can and will be shot or killed. As the following case illustrates, that’s exactly what happened to Akira Lewis when he was targeted for extortion by police for not wearing a seat belt. Now, after the cop who shot him got away with it, he’s trying to sue her—but she’s disappeared.
Lewis filed an excessive force lawsuit against the officer who shot him, former Lawrence police officer Brindley Blood as well as the City of Lawrence, the other officer involved in the traffic stop and the police chief. However, according to Lawrence Journal-World, Blood is nowhere to be found.
Efforts by Lewis’ attorneys — including hiring a private investigator — have not succeeded in locating Blood so that she can be served the court summons, according to court filings.
Attorney Shaye Downing, who represents Lewis, filed an affidavit for service by publication Tuesday in the United States District Court of Kansas City, Kan. Downing states in the affidavit that she has tried unsuccessfully to serve Blood the petition and summons. She states that she has sought assistance from law enforcement, a process service company and a private investigator to locate Blood but has been unable to find out where she is currently living. The court will decide whether to approve serving Blood through newspaper publication.
According to court papers, the private investigator went to every address associated with Blood to serve the papers and they were vacant. They left a voicemail on a number confirmed to belong to Blood and the calls were never returned.’
Now, Lewis is trying to get the cop put on notice through the media.
The original incident unfolded in May of 2018 when Lewis was pulled over by officer Ian McCann because he had forgotten to put on his seat belt—something that millions of Americans do every single day without harming anyone. Naturally, after he was told that he was being extorted for forgetting his seat belt, Lewis got angry, which is usually a bad decision when dealing with police, although not illegal.
“I need your driver’s license and your insurance card,” McCann says. “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 5 minutes or less.”
Lewis then made the poor decision to continue to be uncooperative. While he may be morally right when viewing this situation, history shows us that being uncooperative with police officers is usually a bad idea.
“Go get your (expletive) supervisor, go get your (expletive) supervisor,” Lewis yells. “…Get the (expletive) out of my face, man, I’m telling you.”
For voicing his anger over being extorted for not wearing his seat belt — something Lewis, a black man, said he saw many white men doing and not getting pulled over — officer McCann informed Lewis that he’d be arrested.
Officer McCann then calls for backup and shortly after the call, Officer Blood showed up. The officers then try to kidnap Lewis for refusing to be extorted over not wearing his seat belt. That’s when all hell breaks loose.
When police attempt to take Lewis out of his car, Lewis is clearly stronger and dominates McCann as the two fall to the ground. Once the pair was on the ground, Blood then pulls out her gun and shoots Lewis in the back—a move that is not very atypical, but definitely rare when another officer is in the bullet’s trajectory.
“Oh, sh*t, I shot him,” Blood says, realizing that she just accidentally fired her service pistol instead of her taser.
Although this incident happened nearly a year ago, the video was only just released this week. It shows just how far police are willing to go to extort you over a seat belt ‘violation.’
Luckily for Lewis, he was not killed in the shooting. However, he was arrested and 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.
Lewis had every reason to be upset that day as he’s been stopped and ticketed a half-dozen times since 2010 for the same offense of a suspended license, which he cannot afford to fix because police keep pulling him over and extorting him for it.
At the time, according to Lawrence-Journal, Lewis’ attorney, Shaye Downing said that prior to she shooting, police escalated a situation that “could have been easily de-escalated by any number of interventions,” instead denying Lewis’ requests to talk to a supervisor. She said Blood’s apparent mistake in drawing her gun instead of her Taser raised “serious concerns” about officers’ training on appropriate use of force and the weapons they carry.
“Officer Blood made no other attempt to intervene in the altercation and immediately resorted to lethal force against an unarmed man,” Downing wrote.
After the shooting, Blood was charged with aggravated battery, a felony, for allegedly recklessly hurting Lewis with her gun. However, just as soon as she was charged, a judge threw out her case and she got off Scot free.
“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. 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.”
Below is a video illustrating just how far police are willing to go to enforce the arbitrary victimless ‘law’ of wearing your seat belt.