Off-Duty Cops Not Charged In Illinois River Beating, Alleged Victim Plans To Sue
SAND SPRINGS, Oklahoma - Two Oklahoma City police officers accused of severely beating a Sand Springs man on the Illinois River will not face charges.
The Cherokee District Attorney's Office says there's not a reasonable chance of proving a criminal act was committed.
The DA's Office says statements by two third-party witnesses matched up with the officers' side of the story.
But the alleged victim and his girlfriend say they feel like the case is being swept under the rug.
Amanda Belty said she is outraged.
"I really don't see anything in here that represents our side of the story," Belty said.
She and her boyfriend, Yohawna Lewis, just learned the Cherokee County District Attorney's office will not press charges against the three men Lewis says nearly killed him.
The Assistant DA's letter says the men, two of which were off-duty Oklahoma City police officers, put Lewis in a choke hold because he was aggressively threatening his girlfriend.
Belty said they were arguing, but she wasn't in any danger.
"They didn't put my side of the story in there, where I say that didn't happen. They didn't put my sister or my brother-in-law's statement in there that that didn't happen," Belty said. "His hand was never raised to me, never."
Belty said the choke hold was just the beginning. She and Lewis say the brunt of the beating happened when Lewis was separated from the group.
"They hit me and they hit me hard, at that point, and they pinned me down to the ground, had me by the throat, holding me under the water. The only time I was allowed to breathe was when they lifted me up to punch me in the face," Lewis said.
"I thought I was going to die."
The DA's letter says the three men were in a defensive posture, because Lewis had been stalking, harrassing and threatening the three men with softball-sized stones.
"I was floating down the river, trying to catch up with my own group, that's not stalking," Lewis said. "I never once walked toward them with the stones, it was just to let them know, 'Hey, I'll defend myself if need be.'"
Lewis's girlfriend says he didn't get to defend himself, because he didn't have a chance from the beginning.
"Three or more, to one," Belty said. "That's not a fair fight, that's not self-defense. Two of them are trained combatants and they need three men to go against one. That's not fair, that's excessive."
We reached out to one of the officers and the friend, who was also accused, but neither have not gotten back to us to share their side of this story.
The Oklahoma City Police Department is conducting an internal investigation and both officers are on paid leave.
In the past year, both officers named in this case have been placed on administrative leave for two seperate incidents that involved a suspect's death, which is standard departmental policy.
Lewis said he has hired an attorney and plans to file a civil suit against the men.
"There's other measures that have to be taking place now, and I'm not gonna stop, just like they didn't stop when they were beating me, because I would never want this to happen to anyone else, ever again," Lewis said.