By JOSH NEWTON
TAHLEQUAH — firstname.lastname@example.org
Cherokee County prosecutors last week declined to file charges against a pair of Oklahoma City police officers who were accused of assaulting a man on the Illinois River in early August.
Yohawna Lewis told Tulsa TV station KOTV that he and his girlfriend, Amanda Belty, had an argument when they stopped to eat lunch on the bank of the river. When the couple were arguing, three men – including the two off-duty Oklahoma City officers – stopped and became involved in the situation.
Lewis alleges the men placed him in a choke hold, kicked him, and punched him repeatedly, then left him for dead.
Both police officers were later placed on administrative leave in Oklahoma City so the department could conduct its own investigation.
In a letter prepared by Assistant District Attorney Doug Dry last week, the prosecutor said charges will not be filed against the three men who were accused of assaulting Lewis.
“The policy of this office is that charges should be declined when the assistant district attorney reviewing the criminal investigation concludes that there is not a reasonable likelihood of proving that a criminal act has been committed by a specified individual,” Dry wrote.
Dry said the decision to decline charges against the three men was made after a review of Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission Ranger Tanner Hendley’s report, along with other statements, photographs and audio recordings.
Dry said it is “clear” that Lewis was injured and required medical treatment because he was hit and subdued by the three men, but statements “appear consistent” that the men were in a “defensive posture” because Lewis was allegedly stalking, harassing, and threatening them with softball-sized stones.
Lewis has reportedly admitted to picking up the stones and walking toward the men.
Witnesses indicate Lewis was placed in a choke hold to “neutralize Mr. Lewis’ threat to Ms. Belty” and because of Lewis’ alleged threats toward one of the men, Dry said.
According to Dry, Lewis has admitted he consumed a large amount of alcohol the day of the altercation.
Dry said prosecutors have also declined to press charges against Lewis for any of the day’s events.
Lewis, a Sand Springs resident, told Tulsa TV station KOTV he expects to file a lawsuit against the men who allegedly assaulted him.