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Date of Issue: May 28, 2008

Charges filed in blown-kiss case

Two teens have been formerly charged in connection with an alleged scuffle with a Bradenton Beach police officer at Coquina Beach.

The scuffle occurred after a 14-year-old boy blew a kiss toward BBPD 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.

A spokesperson with the office of the state attorney in Manatee County said May 2 that the case involving Lance Lewis, 14, and his sister, Veronica, 18, remains under investigation, but prosecutors have formally filed charges.

Lance Lewis is being prosecuted in juvenile court, where he has pleaded not guilty disorderly conduct and felony battery, according to a weekend report in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Manatee County court records show that Veronica Lewis was charged with one count of battery on a law enforcement officer. The records state that she “did knowingly, unlawfully and intentionally touch or strike Officer Tim Matthews … against his … will, or did intentionally cause bodily harm to said law enforcement officer.” She also has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled for a jury trial in August.

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.”

Both Lance and Veronica Lewis were arrested. Lance Lewis was arrested for alleged disorderly conduct and battery on a law enforcement officer, a third-degree felony. Veronica Lance was also arrested for alleged battery on a law enforcement officer.

Lance Lewis was released from custody to home detention by a judge, who also has determined a lack of evidence to prove disorderly conduct.

Veronica Lewis was released from the Manatee County jail on bail.

An attorney for the siblings has said Matthews failed to use discretion in dealing with the young people while BBPD has defended the officer’s handling of the affair.

A source with the city said May 23 that Matthews, who owns a construction company, had decided to leave BBPD to pursue the full-time job in Palmetto prior to the incident at the beach.