A sheriff’s deputy who shot an unarmed woman for riding an e-scooter improperly is using the exact same cover story to explain her actions that she used the last time she shot an unarmed suspect.
Kansas City, Missouri police were attempting to stop a man and a woman illegally riding a Bird scooter in tandem on the wrong side of the road, giving chase when the pair ignored police instructions and fled. While officers were able to detain the man, the woman, Brittany Simek, reportedly yelled an expletive at the cops and ran. Deputy Lauren Michael found her sitting on a nearby stoop and allegedly proceeded to taser and shoot her, according to the Washington Post:
“Michael had claimed that after she Tasered Simek in the stomach, the woman managed to gain control of her Taser and zap her in the leg, according to the probable cause statement. Michael claimed she feared the woman would try to grab her gun next ― so she decided to fire.”
This story, which is remarkably similar to Roxy Hart’s defense in Chicago, is also the exact same story Michael used in 2017 when she fatally shot an unarmed suspect named Donald Sneed III. At the time, Michael was working as a security guard at Walmart in addition to her duties for the sheriff’s department. She recognized a suspected shoplifter as someone with outstanding felony warrants and chased him down, not as a sheriff’s deputy, but as a loss-prevention officer, and killed him in the store’s parking lot. For that killing, the sheriff’s office rewarded her with a medal of valor. At the time, Michael gave exactly the same story she told when she shot Simek:
“Michael tried to use her Taser on him, according to the sheriff’s office’s news release for her medal of valor. She claimed it didn’t work ― and then, she said, Sneed tried to grab the stun gun from her. Just like in the most recent case, Michael claimed Sneed succeeded and stunned her in the face.”
Now, the sheriff’s office is rightfully concerned that this is simply the story Lauren tells every time she shoots someone, prompting county prosecutors to promise a “second look” at the Sneed killing.
Simek says she was sitting on the stoop of a when Michael approached her with a taser already out and ordered her to get on the ground. While footage in the Sneed case does not clearly show exactly what happened, dash cam footage from the Simek shooting reportedly shows Michael tackling Simek and tasing her. Then, she allegedly shot Simek twice in the back and buttocks as she ran away.
When a superior arrived at the scene following the incident, Michael reportedly told him “I am not as comfortable with this one as the last one.”
Michael has been placed on unpaid leave following a felony assault charge.