Jackson County deputy charged in August Midtown shooting of woman

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Prosecutors have charged a Jackson County sheriff's deputy in the shooting of a woman in Midtown Kansas City in August following the deputy's attempt to arrest her.

Photo of Lauren Michael, being awarded the Medal of Valor in February 2018, courtesy Jackson County, Missouri.

Lauren N. Michael, 29, faces charges of first-degree assault and armed criminal action.

According to court documents, Michael was working traffic in the Westport area with other deputies when they saw two people on a Bird scooter, traveling south on Main Street in the northbound lanes of traffic. One deputy gave a verbal order for the driver to stop but the two people on the scooter continued on.

Deputies caught up to the two on the scooter near 37th and Main Street. A deputy took the driver into custody and attempted to detain the second person on the scooter, a 25-year-old woman. She ran south and a deputy went after her on foot.

A deputy also told his sergeant over the radio that the only charge he had on her was failure to obey a lawful order by running from him.

Michael continued to search the area for the woman. She located her sitting close to the street in the 4000 block of Oak Street. According to her dash camera video, the woman stood up and walked toward the deputy. They then moved out of view of the dash camera until Michael is seen attempting to detain her. The deputy grabbed her hair and pulled her to the ground, and a drink the woman was holding spilled on Michael.

The video then only shows the woman's legs and a small portion of Michael's left side. Shortly after, the video shows the woman's legs twitch and she suddenly gets up and runs away. Seconds later, smoke is seen blowing into the video's view, presumably the result of Michael's firing of her weapon. Michael advised dispatch that shots were fired and she had been tased.

Michael stated that the woman resisted her when she attempted to put her in handcuffs, according to court records. Nothing she had done was stopping the woman, she stated, and she feared the woman would take her firearm and use it against her so she drew her weapon and fired three to four shots.

The woman stated that Michael took her to the ground, then tased her. She reacted to being tased, she said, by pushing the Taser away and getting up and running. While she was running, she was shot in the back. Crime scene personnel from the Kansas City Police Department located five spent .40 caliber casings and Michael's Taser. Analysis of the Taser revealed both of its cartridges were used within 3 seconds, which did not support Michael's statement that after she tased the woman, the woman fought her for the Taser, then the woman used it on the deputy.

Crime scene personnel also identified damage from a bullet to a vehicle some distance away from where the woman struggled with Michael. The damaged vehicle was in the direction that the woman ran from Michael.

The woman has been identified by her attorney as Britney Simek. He tells FOX4 she served in the Coast Guard from July 2014 through February 2017 and was honorably discharged.

Britney Simek

Simek was shot four times by Michael, according to her attorney.

Jackson County Sheriff Department's records show that in May 2017, Michael shot and killed someone who ran from her at a Raytown Walmart. Michael knew him to have active felony warrants for his arrest for tampering with a motor vehicle and robbery. Michael was working off-duty at the time. Michael reportedly claims the man took her Taser and after being tased in the face she shot the man multiple times. Michael was awarded a Medal of Valor for her role in that incident.

In the moments immediately following the incident in August 2019, Michael reported to another sergeant "I am not as comfortable with this one as the last one.”

The sheriff's department released a statement Wednesday saying "an indictment is not evidence of guilt."

The statement went on to say "Deputy Michael is presumed innocent until a court determines otherwise."

Michael has been placed on leave without pay, which is standard practice following criminal charges.

Prosecutors have requested a $30,000 bond for Michael. According to court records, Michael has posted bond as of Wednesday afternoon.

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