TYRON LEWIS TRIAL CONTINUES DESPITE DISTURBANCES-Andrew Stelzer

05/13/04

Inside the courtroom, officer Knight, the man who killed Tyron Lewis, was called to the stand for the second time; this time by the city’s lawyers. The city’s lawyer asked him whether he shot Tyrone Lewis intentionally.

ACT “Officer knight, when you used your firearm did you intend to fire at the driver of the car. Was there anything inadvertent? No. When you fired your weapon did you intend to hit the driver, stop the threat did you cease firing when you stopped the threat..�

The strategy of those questions directed at Knight soon became clear, when William Drake, the citys lawyer, asked for a directed verdict, meaning he would make a ruling himself instead of letting the jury decide. Drake argued that because Officer Knight admitted the shooting was intentional, then it could not be a case of negligence. He pointed to other Florida court cases in which judges determined that an intentional act could not be negligent. The judge considered this argument, but then decided to leave the decision up to the jurors.

Late in the morning, during an hour-long break, lawyers for both sides met in private. This coupled with the presence of St Petersburg city councilman Bill Foster, led to speculation among those gathered that a settlement was being discussed. Foster told WMNF that the city thought the trial was going well and they had no plans to settle, however, he said “some things are more important than winning.�.

Lawyers also argued about what the jury will be deciding. The city argued that the only issue at hand is the firing of Knights gun. But Lewis family’s lawyer argued that the fact that officer Knight stood in front of the police car when his training told him not to do so, and that act was part of his negligent behavior. They called to the stand for the second time, Cerdick Gordon, a police supervisor for the south side of St Petersburg to the stand to talk about what training he has received.

ACT “What is your understanding of the training back in October of 1996, the training is the video that says we are not supposed to stand in front of a vehicle or fire on it..ill sustain it that’s not what we were trying to illicit…�

With that the witness list was finished, and the judge spent the afternoon discussing with lawyers what instructions he would give the jury tomorrow morning after closing arguments. The jury will likely return with a verdict tomorrow afternoon.

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