In 2017, Jackson County sheriff's deputy Lauren Michael was awarded a medal of valor for shooting and killing a shoplifting suspect at a Walmart after she claimed he grabbed hold of her taser and used it on her, making her fear for her life.
But now the 29-year-old deputy has been indicted for shooting a woman in the back after claiming the woman grabbed her taser and used it on her.
Turns out, she lied about the woman grabbing her taser. It was footage from her own dashcam that did her in. The footage has not yet been released.
“I am not as comfortable with this one as the last one,” Michael told a supervisor in the moments after shooting the 26-year-old woman, leaving "four very large holes" in her back and buttocks, according to her attorney.
And neither were prosecutors who on Wednesday charged Michael with felony assault and armed criminal action. The victim survived the shooting.
Michael, who was placed on unpaid administrative leave, said she spotted a man and woman on a Bird scooter traveling the wrong way down a one-way street on August 8. She said they refused to stop.
The deputy then pulled her patrol car in front of the scooter, causing it to crash into the car. The man driving the scooter was arrested while the woman took off running.
Deputy Michael later caught up with the woman and confronted her.
According to KSHB:
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.
The victim, Brittany Simeck, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, said she ran because she was in fear for her life, her attorneys told KSHB.
"She was afraid for her life from this woman," Smith said of Simek's reaction to Michael. "She was crazy."
Four hollow-point bullets struck Simek, leaving "very large holes" in her back and buttocks, according to her attorneys.
Simek's attorneys want to see Michael, who was charged Wednesday with assault and armed criminal action, off the sheriff's force and behind bars.
"Only a coward shoots a woman in the back and then lies about it," Smith said, "That's what happened here. She needs to go down."
Simek, a Leavenworth native, is retired from the U.S. Coast Guard and spent time on the University of Kansas rowing team.
Now the family of the man she killed in Walmart in 2017, Donald Sneed III, is asking for that case to be revisited, according to the Kansas City Star.
At the time, the sheriff’s office said Sneed III grabbed Michael’s stun gun prompting her to shoot him.
The father, Sneed Jr., said he doesn’t believe that. He said Michael shot his son multiple times and that his son wasn’t attacking her when she fired the shots, but rather was being held down.
Michael was given the medal of valor for her actions during the incident.
“That she was given a medal of valor was almost insulting to the family,” said the family’s attorney Jermaine Wooten.
It does not appear as if that shooting was captured on video but at the time, she explained she tried to taser Sneed twice but it had no effect on him. However, when he took the taser and used it on her, it did have an effect, which is why she had to kill him.