Florida Police Officer Puts Minor in Choke Hold and Charges Two With Felony Battery After Being Hit . . . By An Air Kiss

Bob Hope once charged that “people who throw kisses are . . . hopelessly lazy.” Former Bradenton Beach (Florida) Police Officer Tim Matthews thinks that they are also forms of battery. Matthews is the subject of a lawsuit after he arrested a 14-year-old bloy who blew a kiss at him.

Matthews was hit by the flying kiss when he was patrolling near Coquina Beach in his car. It was a nightmare. One second everything was normal and then suddenly Lance Lewis, 14, and Veronica Lewis, 18, turned and sent Lewis fired off the kiss. At least one of the air kisses penetrated the car (presumably the window was open) and hit Matthews. One of my longest standing complaints is that bullet-proof vests leave the neck and face exposed — prime targets historically for blown or delivered kisses.

Previously, we saw how a hug was charged as a felony. We have also seen an officer claim battery when a bubble touched him. Then there is the officer who charged battery when a suspect released gas in his presence. These all pale in comparison to being hit by a flying pillow, of course.

In this case, Matthews was able to keep control of the vehicle after being hit by the kiss and jumped out — demanding to know if Lewis was retarded.

His sister, Veronica, said that she stepped in front of her younger brother because she said Matthews was storming toward them and her brother had an arm in a cast. Matthews alleged shoved her aside and put Lance Lewis in a choke hold. A choke hold is viewed as the most effective way to stopping air kisses. By denying the subject air, he cannot produce additional air kisses.

Veronica Lewis reportedly stepped forward and grabbed Matthews’ arm while protesting that he was hurting her brother.

Matthews arrested both individuals and charged them with battery on a police officer on April 20, 2008. Now here is the amazing thing. Prosecutors in Bradenton Beach did not turn around and drop both cases — and insist that Matthews be fired. Lance Lewis went to verdict and was acquitted and then Veronica Lewis’s case was dismissed. That makes the list longer of people who should be fired. I suppose the prosecutors felt that it could have been worse, Lance Lewis could have been charged with rape. Moreover, Just One Fool Thing After Another: A Cowfolks’ Guide to Romance expressly states “Stolen kisses require an accomplice.”

The lawsuit correctly charges that Matthews had no probable cause and violated the Fourth Amendment. If these facts are correct, an officer essentially jumped out of a car and for no reason through a minor with a broken arm into a choke hold.

Matthews wrote in his police report that Lance Lewis was using foul language near young children and that he was pushed by Veronica and may have been kicked by Lance during the choke hold.

Matthews resigned after the arrest.

But here is the real kicker. He was hired by the Palmetto Police Department. People in Palmetto, it appears, don’t like kiss and tell types.

Source: Brandenton

Jonathan Turley

14 thoughts on “Florida Police Officer Puts Minor in Choke Hold and Charges Two With Felony Battery After Being Hit . . . By An Air Kiss”

  1. The followup question is what happened to the prosecutors?

    If the prosecutors were not fired, if no lawyer or judge moved to have these guys disbarred, THAT’S is where the problem is.

    Why won’t lawyers police their own?

  2. And now some poor guy has been charged with resisting arrest b/c he covered his head as an officer was beating him with his night stick.

  3. What amazes me is not that some idiot reacts like a raging madman- that conforms to what I know of the variability of individuals.

    What amazes me is the fact that there were no grown ups around to stop this persecution cold. Not only should this cop no longer wear a badge, but everyone in the department and the office of the D.A. who passed this one on without protest should at least be flagged for review. These folks have to show judgment or our legal system is screwed.

    Semi-procedural question: How many people had to become acquainted with the facts in this case before it went to trial? Did the D.A. have the discretion not to prosecute? (I assume the answers are “lots” and “yes” but I am not a Floridian.)

  4. I sense a real need to divert the law from meaning “anything I don’t like” to what is actually stated on the paperwork.

    CEK: Cool Tune BTW

  5. Mespo:

    Lucinda’s version is better imho


    completely unrelated note(sorry for going off-topic)
    but I wanted to share this link thought you may be interested. Good reading so far.

    “One-hundred-and-fifty years ago, Americans went to war with themselves. Disunion revisits and reconsiders America’s most perilous period — using contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical assessments to follow the Civil War as it unfolded.”


  6. Tim Matthews! Come on down! You’re the next contestant on “Come Out of the Closet!”

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

  7. Matthews owns a construction business and was working part time for Bradenton Beach. He resigned and the next month went to work as a full time police officer for Palmetto Police Department where he has been disciplined once after he made comments during a service call about someone’s sex change to a family member.


  8. After viewing this video, it made me wonder; What are the evidentiary rules regarding the introduction of a “blown kiss”?


    Am I the only one who doesn’t see the kiss?

  9. Roid rage. I’m serious, the cop had to be on drugs of the dangerous kind. Roid use by cops is out of control. I hope the family’s civil suit is successful.

    From an article at the Mens Health site:

    “The phenomenon cuts across the country: In recent years, cops in nine states have been accused of steroid-related crimes. Like the four Norman, Oklahoma, police officers whose steroid use was uncovered during a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation last fall, and who were fired. Or the Tampa, Florida, cop who gave a drug dealer a thousand Ecstasy tablets from a police-impounded car in exchange for steroids and was sentenced to 2 years in 2003. Or the Pennsylvania officer who in 2002 pleaded guilty to steroid possession–and to selling ‘roids to two other cops.

    Such incidents are sufficiently widespread that the DEA has published a pamphlet called Steroid Abuse by Law Enforcement Personnel, whose cover depicts two uniformed officers surrounded by floating syringes. Still, because juicing cops are a secretive subculture within a secretive subculture, experts have a hard time quantifying the problem. “Resoundingly, yes, I’ve heard many, many accounts of police officers taking steroids,” says Harvard steroid specialist Harrison Pope, M.D., author of The Adonis Complex. “But it’s impossible to put a number on it. Even if I got a federal grant to study this, I wouldn’t be able to get that number, because of the veil of secrecy.” Officer Jimmy, however, is less constrained. “Steroid use is very pervasive in law enforcement,” insists the 26-year-old cop. “I’d say, of the cops I know, 20 percent to 25 percent of them are using.” ”


  10. ugh…no homophobia here. I don’t understand how Matthews was not found guilty of assault. Cannot the people assaulted sue him civilly?

  11. Hey wait a New York minute…add to the list people playing the “Air Guitar” when they hit those air strings and make a sour note it really is enough to want to go to a chalk board and run your finger nails down it……That is a form of battery….these people should be charged, tried and convicted…

    I tried playing the Air Guitar and found out it was just not my style, nor my favorite instrument to play…..

    I just read a headline that I found amusing… There is just something wrong with that headline…..I did find it on the AJC web site….

    Celine Dion shows off her twins


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