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Date of Issue: August 20, 2008

Blown-kiss case continued

A judge granted a continuance in the trial of a teenager arrested in connection with an alleged scuffle with a police officer on Coquina Beach.

The trial of Veronica Lewis, 18, was scheduled to begin in August, but, at the request of her lawyer was continued to Oct. 6.

Attorney Alex V. Hajaistron asked for a continuance due to “outstanding discovery matters.”

The scuffle occurred after a 14-year-old boy, Lewis’ brother Lance, blew a kiss toward Officer Timothy Matthews on April 20. Matthews has since resigned as a reserve officer from the Bradenton Beach Police Department and taken a post with the Palmetto Police Department.

The two teenagers were arrested - Lance Lewis for felony battery and Veronica Lewis for battery on a law enforcement officer.

A probable cause affidavit filed in the case by BBPD detailed law enforcement’s perspective. Matthews wrote that at about 2:12 p.m. he was driving his patrol car in the parking lot at Coquina Beach “and observed a white male (Lance Lewis) blow me a kiss. I asked him what his problem was and he said, ‘I don’t have a problem N…’ I asked why he would blow me a kiss and he said, ‘F… you.’ There were many young children in the area.”

Matthews reported that when he approached the boy, his “sister Veronica Lewis stepped between us. I told her to move and she pushed me and said, ‘I don’t want my brother arrested.’ I then pushed her out of my way and attempted to grab Lance Lewis and he pushed me away. I grabbed him in a headlock and he kicked me in the left leg. I then took him to the ground and handcuffed him. His sister was grabbing me, trying to pull me off, and I called for officers to assist.”

Hajaistron claims Matthews overreacted to the incident and harassed the teens and that Veronica Lewis tried to protect her brother, who was wearing a cast on his arm.

A status hearing for the case is scheduled to take place Sept. 22.