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Posted: 5/14/2004 1:57:09 PM EST
Jury rules against family in Fla. police shooting that sparked 1996 riots

Friday May 14, 2004
Associated Press Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) With police on edge against an outbreak of violence, a jury Friday rejected a $1.6 million lawsuit brought by the family of a black motorist who was fatally shot by a white officer, touching off riots in 1996.

The jury of five whites and one black sided with the city, which argued that the family of 18-year-old TyRon Lewis deserved no money because Lewis was threatening the officer's life when he was shot during a traffic stop.

``I want TyRon back,'' said Lewis' mother, Pamela, as she left the courthouse surrounded by family members. She would not say whether they planned to appeal.

Lewis' death led to riots at the time, and violence broke out again in the same neighborhood Wednesday night as the case drew to a close. Several businesses were looted and burned and a police officer was shot at but not wounded. becuase tyRon would have wanted it that way?

A local black socialist group, People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, pressed the city to settle the lawsuit, warning that was the only way to prevent further unrest.

``By attacking TyRon Lewis, you attack all impoverished people, because they see themselves in'' him, said Sateesh Rogers, a member of the group. Thats very unhealthy.

Adding to the tension was the fatal police shooting of Marquell Deon McCullough, 17. Sheriff's deputies in St. Petersburg were chasing McCullough on May 2 because they believed he had been involved in a drug deal. It was the first fatal police shooting of a black person in the area since Lewis' death.

St. Petersburg police said they were not expecting any violence because of the verdict but were prepared anyway.

``Our intent tonight is not to necessarily deal with this issue through a show of force,'' said Maj. Tim Story. ``It's business as usual.''

Lewis had been pulled over for speeding by Officer James Knight. Knight testified that Lewis locked the car's doors, refused to come out and lurched the car at him several times, knocking him onto the hood. Knight said he then fired three shots into the windshield, killing Lewis.

Lewis had a felony warrant out against him and cocaine in his pocket.

The officer was cleared by a grand jury and the Justice Department.

Lewis family attorney Jean A. Laws Scott said Knight unnecessarily fired his gun. ``This kid did not deserve to end up dead due to a traffic stop,'' Scott said. Nope. he deserved to get shot becuase he hit the officer with a 2,000 pound club

But assistant city attorney William Drake countered that the officer ``had every right to use deadly force'' when Lewis used the car he was driving to threaten the officer.

City councilman Bill Foster said that the city made an attempt to settle the case but the two sides were always ``miles apart.''

``We are not going to allow this verdict to move us off course,'' Foster said. ``Our mission is to improve the quality of life of our residents and we are still going to do that.''

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Link Posted: 5/14/2004 2:13:27 PM EST
It's gonna be a long hot night in South St Pete.

Lock & Load!
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 2:16:09 PM EST

There's a kid who goes to a local school where my wife taught whose given name is pronounced Shih-The-ad. Spelled.....

wait for it..


No shit.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 2:16:34 PM EST
This sux. OH well. Mags are loaded and fresh batts in the NV.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 2:18:01 PM EST
tagged for later
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 2:25:43 PM EST
Looking on the bright side.......

At least the DA was willing to stand up to the crowds and acknoledge the fact that this police officer did nothing wrong. In So. Cal., especially in LA, the police department and DA might have gone for broke against the officer just to appease the masses.

When will people start taking responsibility for their actions??? I am tired of hearing people give a multitude of excuses for their bad and, at times, criminal behavior. Look at the facts of this case, the guy hit the officer with a moving vehicle, which, when used in this case, is a lethal weapon!!!

Here in CA, I get into many conversations with people who contradict themselves on the matter of police. On one hand, they don't believe that an officer should shoot a perp under any circumstances. They believe that the officers should learn how to present their weapon in a manner and give clear warning that they will shoot, because if they did that properly, than the criminal would stop whatever they were doing. On the other hand, they complain that the police don't do their job in getting criminals off of the street. If officers held to their aforementioned practice, then the criminals would have no reason to stop what they were doing.

I am very happy to see that the verdict did not favor the plaintiff in that case, and that it seems that the DA and police department are standing by their officer.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 2:26:24 PM EST

Originally Posted By die-tryin:
This sux. OH well. Mags are loaded and fresh batts in the NV.

I shall follow you to the survival forum
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 7:49:33 PM EST
This going to be the same thing that happened 8 years ago. The Democrat Peoples BooHooHoo Uruhu Movement is just using this as an excuse to start a street riot. They hold Tyron Lewis up as a martyr for their cause. Truth is Tyron Lewis was just a street level dope dealing punk who tried to run Officer Knight over with his car.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 8:14:09 PM EST
P-DUM - that says it all for me....
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 8:20:38 PM EST
Its bad enough that people sue the city for this kind of stuff. I think its even worse in the situations a riot of some type is nearly always going to happen.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 8:37:23 PM EST

Originally Posted By AR15fan:

City councilman Bill Foster said that the city made an attempt to settle the case but the two sides were always ``miles apart.''

Link Posted: 5/14/2004 9:04:02 PM EST

Originally Posted By AZ-K9:


Who? The City? I would normally agree with you, but this time they stood their ground. The family of Lewis was just looking for free money and the city realized it. The settlement they offerd the family was a college scholarship for the illigitimate son of Lewis. Lewis never saw the boy and refused to acknowledge him as his son. The mother changed his name to TyRon Lewis II after Lewis was shot. Lewis' brother also tried to justify his dope dealing as his being an entrepenuer (sp?) becasue the police in St. Pete picked on him. Kinda shows the family values in that household.
Link Posted: 5/14/2004 9:55:24 PM EST

Originally Posted By QuietShootr:

There's a kid who goes to a local school where my wife taught whose given name is pronounced Shih-The-ad. Spelled.....

wait for it..


No shit.

My prediction: Momma will die a horrible death at the hands of her son before he makes it to 20 yrs. No sh!t.
Link Posted: 5/15/2004 3:03:00 AM EST
Well blow me down. Not a peep last night. Oh, well, off to work. Glad this aint LA.
Link Posted: 5/15/2004 3:48:51 AM EST
From the St Pete Times:

The first line is my favorite...


Kayson Kellogg, 36, cutting hair at another chair, predicted there would be no unrest Friday because people were too busy hitting the clubs after getting paid. But, he said, there could be a problem over the weekend if the media and police fuel the fire.

"Whatever happens happens," said barbershop customer Fidel Johnson, 29. "I just hope everyone gets along."

By nightfall, people were avoiding the streets. A BP gas station at 22nd Avenue S and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street S was closed by 8:30 p.m., when it normally would be open. Customers tried the door at a liquor store at 31st Street and 18th Avenue S they said was normally open on Friday night, only to find it closed.

Other parts of downtown St. Petersburg shut down. At the Marketplace Express on Beach Drive, manager Brian Carter, 30, was getting out of downtown as soon as he closed the gourmet coffee shop at 6 p.m.

"I just remember the violence last time and wouldn't take the risk of going out tonight," he said. "Better to be safe than sorry."

Across the street, two security guards turned away a steady stream of visitors to the Museum of Fine Arts. Normally open until 8 p.m. on Friday, the museum shut its doors before 5 p.m. for "safety" reasons, the guards said.

"Are we under a curfew?" said a disappointed visitor, lawyer Kerry Brown of St. Petersburg, who hoped to see the popular Dale Chihuly glass exhibit.

"This is a small-town reaction," complained Nancy Terry, who like Brown wanted to see the art glass exhibit, scheduled to close May 30.

Stores and at least one restaurant at the BayWalk shopping center closed early too. "I think we needed to be a little on alert tonight," BayWalk official Craig Sher said.

At 7 p.m. about 20 people gathered at the Uhuru House on 18th Avenue S, including four members of the Nation of Islam.

"We take our stand with the oppressed," explained Minister James Muhammad.

They blasted police, called for Harmon's firing and urged further protests. Two hours later, about two dozen people gathered to wave signs of protest at BayWalk. Nearby two City Council members, Bill Foster and James Bennett, watched silently while puffing on cigars.
Link Posted: 5/15/2004 5:46:44 AM EST
For my comrades in St. Pete:

POSSESSION IN PRIVATE CONVEYANCE.--Notwithstanding subsection (2), it is lawful and is not a violation of s. 790.01 for a person 18 years of age or older to possess a concealed firearm or other weapon for self-defense or other lawful purpose within the interior of a private conveyance, without a license, if the firearm or other weapon is securely encased or is otherwise not readily accessible for immediate use. Nothing herein contained prohibits the carrying of a legal firearm other than a handgun anywhere in a private conveyance when such firearm is being carried for a lawful use. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to authorize the carrying of a concealed firearm or other weapon on the person. This subsection shall be liberally construed in favor of the lawful use, ownership, and possession of firearms and other weapons, including lawful self-defense as provided in s. 776.012.

Section 790.25(5) Fla. Stat.
Link Posted: 5/15/2004 6:03:31 AM EST
This whole thing has been mind boggling from the get go!

Questioning the shoot would appear from face value to be natural with the one exception that the kid had a felony warrant out on him plus the bullets through the windshield. Pure stupidity to take the moral high ground on this one.

To me anyway, I could see this thing coming down as most likely, Get out of the car, no, lock the doors, and then cop steps in front of the car and pulls his weapon. Now the decision is run the cop down or get out of the car. Seriously if the cop was a bad cop and wanted to shoot this kid just cause he's black, there would have been more than a little coke found on the body. This alone tells me that this isn't a bad cop. How smart the action was or not isn't really the issue here for the kid escalated the senario by locking his door and refusing to get out.

To me from the get go, this was a no brainer and this kid made a bad decision that cost him his life therefore the whole damn mess had to be politically motivated.

It scares me to think that we are becoming a society that every time a black person gets shot, it has to be racially motivated. It reeks of self defense is only a defense if it's PC.

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