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Date of Issue: May 07, 2008

Arraignment date set in blown kiss case

Lance Lewis
Veronica Lewis

An 18-year-old woman is scheduled for arraignment May 23 in connection with an alleged scuffle with a Bradenton Beach police officer on Coquina Beach.

The scuffle occurred after a 14-year-old boy blew a kiss toward BBPD Officer Timothy Matthews on April 20.

A spokesperson with the office of the state attorney in Manatee County said May 2 that the case remains under investigation and prosecutors have not formally filed charges against either the boy, Lance Lewis, or his sister, Veronica Lewis.

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.

A witness statement filed at the courthouse seemed to corroborate Matthews’ report. Hiram Mojias, who was on the beach April 20, said: I saw the officer going out of the car. He talked to the boy. When the officer tried to get the boy to talk, the boy pushed the officer. Also, the girl pushed the officer. Then the officer grabbed the boy to the floor. The boy was fighting back. The boy appeared to be drunk.

Another witness, Edward Lee Whitmore of Bradenton, said, “I saw this girl push the officer. The officer asked her to step back. She said back to the officer, ‘No, I am not going to get the f… back,’ and was very mouthy to him.”

But Clarence Lewis of Tampa has told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that the officer over-reacted in dealing with the situation.

Calls to Clarence Lewis and Tampa defense attorney Alex Hajaistron were not returned by The Islander’s press time.