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Date of Issue: September 24, 2008

Charges dismissed in blown-kiss case

A judge last week recently dismissed a felony charge against a teenager arrested in connection with an alleged scuffle with a police officer on Coquina Beach.

Days later a juvenile judge dismissed the case against the teenager’s brother, also arrested in the incident.

During a hearing Sept. 16, Circuit Judge Diana Moreland dismissed the felony charge of battery on a law enforcement officer filed against Veronica Lewis.

Moreland, however, did find probable cause for a misdemeanor simple battery case against the teenage girl, whose brother, Lance Lewis, 14, also was arrested in the incident on April 20.

The scuffle occurred after Lance Lewis blew a kiss toward Officer Timothy Matthews, who was then a reserve officer with the Bradenton Beach Police Department but has since left for another law enforcement job.

Matthews wrote in his arrest report that he asked Lance Lewis “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.”

When Matthews began to arrest Lance Lewis for disorderly conduct, Veronica Lewis tried to intervene.

Moreland, in her ruling on a defense request to dismiss the case against Veronica Lewis, said the teenage girl put her palms on Matthews’ chest, acting to protect her brother.

Matthews told the girl to move, grabbed Lance Lewis and put him on the ground to handcuff him.

Veronica Lewis next pulled on Matthews’ lapel and scratched the officer’s lip. Veronica Lewis was then arrested for battery on a police officer.

Moreland said Matthews lacked reasonable suspicion that Lance and Veronica Lewis were involved in criminal activity.

As of Islander press time, prosecutors had not decided whether to pursue the misdemeanor charge against Veronica Lewis.

But a juvenile court did act to dismiss the case against Lance Lewis, arrested charges of battery on a police officer and disorderly conduct.

Judge Marc Gilner dismissed the charges in a hearing Sept. 18 after finding that the police officer lacked probable cause to make the arrest.