TYRON LEWIS TRIAL--FAMILY TESTIFIES-Andrew Stelzer

05/12/04

The trial of Tyron Lewis continued today in St Petersburg. Lewis was killed by a St Petersburg police officer in 1996, a civil disturbance followed, in which angry black residents set fires in the street, angry about another act of violence by law enforcement against African Americans. Lewis family is seeking a verdict of wrongful death, and wants the city of Saint Petersburg to pay them. Today featured testimony by several of Lewis’ family members; Lewis families lawyers were attempting to show the jury how his death effected those who loved him. Pamela Lewis, Tyron’s mother was the first on the stand. The family’s lawyers asked her questions about Tyron, her relationship with her son, and about how she felt when she found out that Tyron had been killed.

ACT “I was numb…did you go to the seen, I was trying to find out answers…what were those days like, it was just awful..finding out that your baby boy was killed?�

But lawyers for the city retaliated by painting Lewis lifestyle and family as unstable, and sometimes criminal. Heres William Drake, the city’s lawyer, questioning Ms Lewis.

ACT “He brought his girlfriend Latoya to meet you between 1994 and 1995..that was the first time you met her..Tyron had lots of other girlfriends didn’t he? This was the first one he ever met.�

Lewis’ mother was also challenged by the cities lawyer, William Drake, when she said she didn’t remember when he started kindergarten.

ACT-Tyron mom 1

And a significant moment occured when the city’s lawyers found differences between Ms Lewis testimony, and a deposition given by her last month. Although the disputed facts were not central to the case, they could bring into her question the truth of any of her testimony

ACT

When Lewis parents said Tyron’s favorite hobbies were fishing and basketball, the city’s lawyer asked them if they thought that was a viable career, and if they reminded Tyron that one must stay in school to pursue a career in basketball. Heres how the cities lawyer began his questioning of Tyron Lewis father, Joe Hawkins.

ACT-Tyron dad 1

Third on the stand was Latoya White, the mother of Tyron’s son, who spoke about how she is raising her son without his real father. She said she shows Tyron Jr letters from his father in which he asks about his son, who he never met.

ACT “When he wrote you back did you keep the letters? Yes, Why so my son would know what his father was writing, why so he knew his father cared about him….he asks if his dad is up in heaven.�

Tyron died when his son was 14 months old. The citys attorney questioned Latoya White about her decision to change the child’s name from Aaron to Tyron Jr, after Tyron Seniors death.

ACT-Tyron wife 1

Jean Laws Scott, the lawyer for Lewis family then re-questioned White, asking for her reasons for changing the child’s name to Tyron Jr.

ACT-Tyron wife 2

Omali Yeshitela, of the Black activist group the Uhuru movement, has been observing the trial all week. He took issue with the way the cities lawyer painted a negative picture of a fatherless family, where the mother moves around frequently and receives help from family members in raising her children.

ACT “If you listen to the testimony, the city is playing on the passions of the jury that is ignorant of the lives of poor black people�

Yeshitala says the city of Saint Petersburg should settle with the family over the Lewis’ tragic death, instead of spending so much money on lawyers trying to prove they were right, which may end up angering the community again as it did 8 years ago.

ACT They can win, the city the verdict and still lose the peace..and somebody needs to take responsibility for the fact that the officer did kill ..it seems that instead of sending these lawyers out here to fight the case, should settle to benefit the entire city

Stefana Hawkins view reinforced the nation that if jurors rule the city need not pay Lewis family, the black community will not be happy.

ACT “All I want is justice for Tyron, he’s the brother in law that I never had..and the cops should be behind bars…�

A verdict is expected in the case later this week, or early next week.

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Comments

irrefutable evidence

Read your story pertaining to the Uhuru Democratic Party offerring a "reward" for cops to rat out bad cops. And Profitt's, who I thnk I grew up with, response. Any way, I offered the Uhuru Democratic Party help back in 96 but because I am white they were like paranoid that tey were being set up by the "man." Their problem is like the guy stranded on a roof top praying for God to help him. During the course of his prayers came a some people in a raft asking him to come aboard and he turned them down because "God" would help him. Then a Helicopter came to rescue him and he turned them down to because "God." would help him. Well he drowned. In Heaven he asked God why He did not respond to his prayers. God said, " What do you mean, I sent you a raft and a helicopter!" Is the Uhuru Party that man? Again, in 2009, I have a case that has urrefutable corruption laced throughout the entire case. It sufficient to cause a Federal Investigation provided it received media attention. But the local media won't do it and I am poor so I have no resources to trigger such necessary action. One thing you may overlook is that St. Petersburg is Charlie Crist's hometown. So you are dealing with a Political Machine. So this Uhuru Movement is shooting itself in the foot because it is narrow mindedly playing the Black Activist Card and in so doing what it purports to want to do,(i.e., expose corruption), is limited by it's very narrow mindedness. By the way, my case involves Knight. So, you have a pair of Roller Skates and I have brand New key. I have a case replete with corruption, but I am just one and therefore can not fight for Justice as against the corrupt. You, are more than one and have a voice. Together we could expose what the Uhuru Movement "professes" to be it's goal. God, there IS. And God has provided. But are the recipients blind?