KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 29-year-old Jackson County Sheriff’s deputy has been charged with felony assault and armed criminal action for shooting a woman in the back this summer.
Jackson County prosecutors Wednesday charged Lauren Michael in connection to an incident on Aug. 8, near 40th and Oak streets in Midtown Kansas City.
According to court documents, a deputy in the area on traffic patrol spotted a man and a woman going the wrong way on a street on a bird scooter.
The deputy eventually got ahead of the scooter and turned in front of the Bird scooter, causing the driver and passenger to crash into the deputy’s car.
A male driver was arrested at the scene, but the woman passenger was able to escape.
Because charges against the woman passenger were misdemeanors, deputies called off the search.
A short time later, Deputy Michael located the female passenger near 40th and Oak streets and attempted to take the woman into custody.
Dash cam video from Deputy Michael’s patrol car shows the deputy approach the woman and grab her by the hair to force her to the ground. Less than one minute later, the video shows the woman twitch, which detectives believe represents when the woman was tased.
The video shows the woman running away from the deputy, at which time the video captures smoke from the deputy's service weapon.
In an interview with detectives, Michael claimed that she also had been tased when the woman got a hold of her taser.
In their investigation, Kansas City, Missouri, Police detectives located five shell casings that matched up with Deputy Michael’s gun. An evaluation of Deputy Michael’s taser concluded that only three seconds elapsed between the first and second firings of the taser, thus casting doubt that the woman had managed to tase Michael.
This isn’t the first time Deputy Michael was involved in a shooting.
In May 2017, she shot and killed a civilian when she was working as an off-duty security officer at an area Walmart. Though the civilian had active felony warrants, the altercation that led to that particular shooting stemmed from an alleged shoplifting.
After allegedly trying to use her taser to bring the suspect under control, Michael alleged the suspect tased her in the face, prompting her to open fire.
The probable cause statement ends with Deputy Michael talking with a sergeant after the August 2019 incident, in which she allegedly said, “I am not as comfortable with this one as the last one.”
In a statement, Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said this case met a high bar in bringing charges.
"Each case stands on its own fact pattern,” she said in the statement. “In this case, we do not find the actions of this officer to be reasonable or lawful. The actions of the deputy were not lawful to effect this arrest of this civilian, and we do not find the officer’s actions to be reasonable to protect against a perceived physical threat against the officer."
Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forte released the following statement:
An indictment is not evidence of guilt. Deputy Michael is presumed innocent until a court determines otherwise. As a standard practice, an employee of the Sheriff's Office is placed on leave without pay, following criminal charges. Deputy Michael has been placed on unpaid leave pending the outcome of this criminal case. There will be no further comments regarding this case.
Despite saying there would be no further comment, Forte took to Twitter later Wednesday evening and called Michael "a respected member" of the sheriff's office:
Deputy Michael, 7 yr veteran of @JCSheriffOffice charged today with first-degree assault & armed criminal action. Deputy Michael is presumed innocent unless proven guilty by a Court. Deputy Micheal is a respected member of JCSO. @JacksonCountyMO pic.twitter.com/2w1So1xH4b— Darryl Forte' (@sheriffforte) October 9, 2019