Former Kansas police officer expected in court for accidentally shooting suspect with gun instead of stun gun

Officer Brindley Blood of Lawrence, Kansas, resigned from her job in January.

By Enjoli Francis
March 26, 2019, 7:31 PM

A now former Lawrence, Kansas, police officer is expected in court on Wednesday to face a charge for shooting a suspect during a struggle after allegedly mistaking her gun for a stun gun.

Officer Brindley Blood was responding to a traffic stop call on May 29, 2018, when she encountered Officer Ian McCann trying to arrest driver Akira Lewis.

McCann had allegedly pulled over Lewis that day for a seat belt violation.

The full seven minute and 51 second dash cam video of the traffic stop was released to ABC News affiliate KMBC-TV.

In the video, McCann is seen approaching the driver side of Lewis’ SUV just after 5 p.m.

Moments after McCann began speaking to Lewis, the vehicle inched forward, the video showed.

“Hey man. Stop!” McCann said to Lewis.

Lewis quickly stopped the vehicle and McCann, again, walked to the driver’s side window.

“My family is homeless. I’m trying to go to fucking work. … You gonna stop me for a fucking seat belt?” Lewis said.

“I’m gonna pull you over right here,” said McCann. “This is literally gonna literally take only four minutes. … I need your driver’s license and your insurance card.”

Lewis refused to comply, complaining that he’d been singled out and demanded to speak to a supervisor.

“You’re about to go to jail for a seat belt violation,” McCann warned Lewis in footage from police dashcam video that was released by Lawrence authorities Monday. “Are you really wanting to do that?”

Lewis and McCann went back and forth for approximately five minutes.

Blood, who responded to the call separately, could then be seen approaching the passenger side of the vehicle.

“He’s going to jail,” McCann said as Blood walked behind the SUV.

PHOTO: Lawrence, Kansas, police officers Ian McCann and Brindley Blood were trying to arrest a suspect in May 2018 during a traffic stop when Blood grabbed her stun gun, not her gun, and fired.

McCann opened Lewis’ door as Blood quickly went back to the passenger side of the car.

“Get out of the car!” McCann said.

“I’m gonna knock you in your [expletive]. … I’m not getting out of this car!” Lewis said.

Blood opened the passenger side door and also requested that Lewis get out of the car as McCann called for backup, according to the video.

Lewis and McCann struggled and Lewis landed a punch on the officer before throwing McCann to the ground in the middle of traffic.

Then Blood yelled “Taser!”

Blood, a rookie officer who had joined the force two months earlier, pulled out her service weapon and fired a single shot, wounding Lewis.

“Ow! Ow!” Lewis is heard after being shot. He was later transported to a hospital, police said.

After Lewis cried out, Blood can be heard saying, “Oh, s—, I shot him.”

Blood later told investigators that she had intended to reach for her stun gun. She resigned in January 2019, authorities said.

Blood is facing a charge of reckless aggravated battery. It is unclear if she’s entered a plea.

Her attorneys said they were not commenting on the case at this time.

McCann is still active with the department.

Lewis faces multiple charges including battery and failure to wear a seat belt. His attorneys did not respond to requests for comment.

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Man suing over police shooting seeks help locating officer
January 16, 2020

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A man wounded by a rookie Kansas police officer who mistakenly drew her gun instead of her Taser has been unable to find her to serve her with an excessive force lawsuit.

Akira Lewis’s attorney, Shaye Downing, said in a court filing that she has sought assistance from law enforcement, a process service company and a private investigator to locate former Lawrence Officer Brindley Blood, who shot Lewis in May 2018. The court will decide whether to approve serving Blood through newspaper publication, the Lawrence Journal-World reports.

An aggravated battery charge against Blood was dropped last March. An affidavit in the case said Blood intended to stun Lewis but instead shot him him as he fought with another officer. The confrontation started after Lewis refused to get out of his car when he was pulled over for a suspected seat-belt violation.

Lewis, who is black, contended that the stop was racially motivated. Blood and the other officer are both white. Lewis has been sentenced to a year of probation after pleading no contest to battery of a law enforcement officer.

Other defendants include the city, which the lawsuit accuses of failing to provide proper training. The city attorney has declined to comment.

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Case dismissed against ex-Lawrence police officer who shot man during traffic stop

MARCH 27, 2019 07:11 PM, UPDATED MARCH 28, 2019 04:00 PM

A judge has dismissed the case against a former Lawrence police officer who shot a man during a traffic stop last year and was charged with reckless aggravated battery.

The officer who fired the shot, Brindley Blood, was charged in Douglas County District Court. Blood had maintained the May 29 shooting was accidental and she meant to reach for her stun gun instead of her firearm.

A news release from county prosecutor’s office Wednesday said a judge dismissed the case.

An order signed by Douglas County District Court Judge Peggy Kittel said Blood would not stand trial on the criminal charge after the court considered evidence heard in a preliminary hearing last week.

The judge ruled that the evidence presented didn’t show probable cause that the officer acted recklessly.

The case was dismissed without prejudice. District Attorney Charles Branson said in a written statement that his office does not anticipate filing any different charges against Blood. Instead, the district attorney said, his office would review the ruling and determine whether it should appeal the dismissal.

“Clearly, Ms. Blood was negligent during the deployment of her firearm. Kansas law, however, provides little to no guidance on how to proceed in these circumstances. Kansas, unlike some states, does not recognize criminal negligence. Kansas does recognize reckless conduct,” Branson’s statement said.

“To determine whether or not probable cause existed that Ms. Blood acted recklessly, the Court had to determine whether ‘a trier of fact could conclude with the evidence presented that Ms. Blood consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk,’” Branson said. “The Court concluded she did not act recklessly.”

Dash cam video of the shooting was released Monday by the Lawrence Police Department.

It shows a driver, Akira S. Lewis, wrestle a Lawrence police officer to the ground during the traffic stop and fight him before being shot in the back by another officer, who was later identified as Blood.

Lewis had been pulled over in the 100 block of West Sixth Street for not wearing a seat belt and refused to comply with demands from Officer Ian McCann to hand over his driver’s license and insurance information.

Throughout the video, Lewis repeatedly said he was singled out by McCann, who he said didn’t stop other motorists for not wearing their seat belts. Lewis asked McCann to summon a supervisor. McCann refused to do so.

McCann called for backup and told Lewis he would be arrested if he did not cooperate.

“You’re about to go to jail on a seat belt violation, are you really wanting to do that?” McCann is heard asking in the video. “You could give me your driver’s license, I could write you a ticket and you can drive home.”

Lewis responded: “I haven’t done nothing.”

After Blood arrived, McCann opened the car door and physically removed Lewis from the vehicle.

Blood tried to intervene as McCann and Lewis wrestled. She pulled her gun and shot Lewis on the back of his shoulder.

Other officers arrived, and McCann and Blood handcuffed Lewis.

Douglas County prosecutors asked the Johnson County District Attorney’s office to review the case because Lewis was both a victim and defendant.

Lewis, who survived the shooting, was charged in Douglas County with battery on a law enforcement officer, interference with a law enforcement officer, no proof of insurance and driving without a seat belt.

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City in Kansas Settles With Black Driver Shot by Rookie Officer

September 29, 2020

The city of Lawrence, Kan., has agreed to pay $80,000 to settle an excessive force lawsuit filed by a Black man who was shot by a rookie police officer in 2018 during a traffic stop.

Akira Lewis sued the city, two officers, the police department and the police chief after he was shot. He alleged the officers used excessive force and that the traffic stop was racially motivated.

The city contended Lewis caused the confrontation by unreasonably refusing to get out of his car.

Under the settlement approved Friday, neither the city or Lewis accepted liability for the shooting, The Lawrence Journal-World reported.

Lewis was shot when he was pulled over by officers Ian McCann and Brindley Blood. Lewis refused to get out of his car or give the officers his identification. A police video shows McCann trying to pull Lewis from the car.

When Lewis began hitting McCann, Blood shot him. She said later she meant to use her Taser but drew her gun instead. An aggravated battery charge against her was dropped and she later left the force.

Lewis was sentenced to a year of probation after pleading no contest to battery of a law enforcement officer.