A Jackson County sheriff’s deputy has been charged after shooting a woman in the back while trying to arrest her in August.
Jackson County prosecutors on Wednesdsay charged Lauren Michael, 29, with first-degree assault and armed criminal action.
According to the charging documents, the shooting occurred after deputies tried to pull over a couple driving a Byrd scooter the wrong way down a street. The man was arrested but the woman fled.
Michael later found the woman sitting on steps near 41st and Oak. Dashcam video shows the woman standing and walking toward the deputy. They then go out of view until Michael is seen grabbing her hair and pulling her to the ground.
According to the court documents, the video shows the woman’s legs twitching before she gets up and runs away. A few seconds later, the video shows smoke, presumably from Michael firing her gun.
At the time, Michael told an investigator that after a struggle, the woman had tased her. Fearing the woman would take Michael’s weapon and use it against her, Michael said, she pulled her gun and fired at the woman who was then above her.
The woman told deputies that she reacted to being tased by pushing the Taser away and running, which was when Michael shot her in the back.
Both the dashcam video and data from the Taser contradicted Michael’s statement after the incident. Crime scene personnel from the Kansas City Police Department found bullet damage on a vehicle “some distance away” from the encounter caught on tape, and in the direction the woman ran.
Sheriff Darryl Forte says Michael is now on unpaid leave.
This is the second time Michael has shot a civilian. In 2017, she shot and killed a shoplifting suspect while working off duty at a Raytown Walmart.
She had recognized Donald Sneed III as having outstanding felony arrest warrants. Michael also used her Taser in that case, but after a struggle, Sneed took her Taser. She then shot him multiple times after being tased in the face.
After that incident, Michael received a Medal of Valor from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.
After the shooting in August, court documents show Michael told a sergeant, “I’m not as comfortable with this one as the last one.”
Maria Carter is the news director at KCUR 89.3.