Florida Cop Tim Matthews Put 14-Year-Old Boy In Choke Hold For Blowing Him a Kiss, Says Family

Rarely is it a good idea to get sarcastic with a police officer you don’t know, but that’s what then-14-year-old Lance Lewis did when he blew a kiss to a Bradenton Beach cop while strolling down the Florida beach with his sister (both pictured). The 49-year-old officer, Tim Matthews, wasn’t amused. And according to a lawsuit filed by Lance’s family, Matthews proceeded to get out of his car and put the 130-pound boy in a choke hold while shoving him to the ground, before arresting him and booking him into a juvenile detention center. Christ.

The Bradenton Herald says the 2008 incident ended with Matthews filing a report that claimed Lance as using foul language near kids, and that when he went to arrest the boy, his sister Veronica, 18, pushed and kicked him in the leg. (A 2008 news report relays Lance supposedly said to Matthews, “I don’t have a problem, nigger”; Matthews is white.) So I guess that’s what allegedly led to this?

The 20-page lawsuit filed by a Hillsborough County family is seeking damages after Lance Lewis, 14, and Veronica Lewis, 18, were both arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer on April 20, 2008. Lance Lewis was acquitted and Veronica Lewis’ case was dismissed, according to court documents. The lawsuit states former Bradenton Beach Police Officer Tim Matthews had no probable cause and violated the Fourth Amendment when he arrested the teens who were walking at Coquina Beach. After Lewis blew the kiss, Matthews responded by getting out of his car and asking Lewis if he was retarded, according to court documents.

Veronica Lewis noticed Matthews was aggressively approaching her brother, who was wearing a cast on a broken arm, and she reacted by stepping between the two, according to court records. Matthews pushed Veronica Lewis aside and put a choke hold on Lance Lewis, the suit says. Veronica Lewis noticed her brother had a hard time breathing and told Matthews he was killing her brother. She placed her arm on Matthews’ arm to attempt to restrain him, according to court records.

“A teenager blowing a kiss at the officer in no way amounts to probable cause to confront the defendants nor does having a kiss blown at Officer Matthews create a reasonable suspicious that the Defendant or her brother were involved in criminal activity or that the defendants were armed and or dangerous,” said Tampa-based defense attorney Alex Hajaistron in court records.

Did we mention Matthews, who had 13 years on the force (where he worked part-time, in addition to his building contractor gig), resigned shortly after he made the arrests? That, even after the Bradenton Police Department said it had Matthews’ back, and that he used appropriate force in dealing with a violent suspect. A judge initially forced Lance into home detention while his case was reviewed; charges against he and his sister were quickly dropped, which can only aid their the $200k lawsuit. And while it sounds like this kid a twerp (calling cops “niggers,” really?), a little man-on-man affection never hurt anybody.

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  • Kev C

    Blowing kisses to a homophobic male is like activating a nuclear bomb inside their head. They start turning Hulk green while their manhood is threatened by air kisses.


    Ok we get it, the cop didn’t like that the kids actions indicated he thought the cop was both Gay and Black…….But take down a 13yo kid with a cast violently? Is it possible to be insecure in both his sexuality and his race?? :p

  • divkid

    Awww! You gotta love ’em. Cheeky little twat.

  • divkid

    but ***STRONGLY*** dissaprove of N-bomb.!!!. There I’ve said it. Conscience clear.

  • Glynn

    You said: a little man-on-man affection never hurt anybody…???

    Surely Lance disagrees after being held in a choke hold?

  • chimmy

    I’m sure the cop had a reason to assault the kid. Has anyone ever heard of violent blown kisses? Ouch, they really hurt…and cause major damage wow!

  • j

    @chimmy: Be sarcastic about it if you want, but when they’re blown at you at cast on your arm’ll be the least of your worries. Fully support the officer here. Good work sir! Just make sure to scratch your balls in public every five minutes so everyone knows you have them

  • Gregger

    @divkid: I strongly disagree with a public official asking if someone is a retard. Neither was right, but that man should not have been a PO

  • divkid

    @Gregger: we’re agreeing. I think? Anyhow, Im on the boys side. Yes, fault on both sides..blah…but not equally. One was a hard-faced scamp; the other a powerful adult with a fragile ego equipped with a gun. And a worrying lack of sense of proportion. Florida may have had a lucky escape.

  • divkid

    …OH, and blowing kisses at pompous macho cunts just IS funny. ..So well done to the cheeky little bastard!

  • Hutch

    again, all of this is alleged. hard for me to believe a cop would just put an immature kid in a chokehold (BUT crazier things have happened). i would love to hear some testimony from witnesses (other than the biased-sister).

  • justiceontherocks

    If I read this correctly, the cop was going to arrest a 14 year old for swearing near kids. Strange.

    Next time one of the states that was part of the Confederacy wants to secede, we should let them.

  • dvlaries

    Got a picture of the cop…? Maybe he’s damn lucky to be catching air kisses from anybody…?

  • gregger

    @divkid: I really hope the kid’s parents sue the city, the police dept, and the officer. The “officer” acted as a bully. If I was the kid or the sister I would have reacted the same way to the choke hold.

    If the City of Bradenton hires, keeps, and backs up “officers” who are so easily threatened they need to have major insurance and a Hell of a good team of lawyers. Let’s put this in perspective, if someone calls a gay man a faggot does that give the gay man the right to assault someone. Hell to the Muthafukin NO! It works the same for cops, deputies, and highway patrol ofc’s. The gay community rioted in SF after Harvey Milk was assassinated, throwing cop cars over and smashing windows. Did that give the cops the right to use deadly force on the rioters, unless the cops were in imminent danger of bodily harm? Helltothemuthafuckin NO! Did they use deadly force at that time? No they didn’t. Why are these ASSWIPES defending a cop who used a chokehold on a CHILD who blew a kiss at the cop and answered an asswipe question with an asswipe comment?

  • reason

    Clearly undue force, but I think the officer was correct in asking if he was mentally ill. I can guarantee that there are cops out there that would have taken this kids life. Word to the wise don’t provoke an officer, especially one that is not even engaged with you unless your looking for natural selection to take its course.

  • TommyOC

    Homophobic cop…


    Racist* child…

    Not sure I’d be rooting for either.

    (*And yeah, this commenter would insist that if we call every spewer of our very own “f-word” a homophobe, then the n-word spewers get automatic racist labels as well.)

  • Chi2222

    Yes, TommyOC, homophobic black cop or racist white kid? Maybe the fault of both? But again, I would only make judgements on this case after knowing both party’s backgrounds and after hearing from a lot of witnesses.

  • Ryan


    The cop was white.

  • Ryan


    You’re an idiot. Since when does blowing a kiss equal mental illness?

  • reason

    @Ryan: Anything that provokes a cop can turn out very poorly for an individual. Paying attention to Katrina and other incidents around the country where people have been attacked and killed without provocation if I saw someone blowing a kiss at a cop, realizing the cop is angry, then throwing a slur at them I would have to question their mental state. If you still can’t see the context I don’t know how to explain it to you. This doesn’t just hold true for cops, but anyone who has a loaded gun on their hip. Being aware of the psychos in this society would you take that risk?


    And a huge PS to this whole saga…..It seems this kid is clearly a dumbass. But this cop is a grown man. The kid was 13 years old, with his arm in a cast…….

  • well,


    “retard” is not a word we use when we are “asking if a person is mentally ill”

    its an insult, even to the mentally disabled.

    I think since, everything ended up being dismissed, and the cop in question quit, its pretty obvious he was at fault, i believe the court would have backed him up if there was sufficient evidence to support his reaction, and there wasnt.

    and besides – this is a CHILD. the officer, the adult, is supposed to be more mature.

  • Bob

    I can just imaging the rioting if this was a black kid and a white cop!

  • damendo

    Clearly this Officer has issues. In a related story Matthews, after resigning from this Police Dept was hired in nearby Palmetto Police Dept. Palmetto Police records show Matthews had one disciplinary incident in May 2009 after he made comments during a service call about someone’s sex change to a family member.

    He was reprimanded.

    Read more:

  • hephaestion

    When two idiots collide…

  • gregger

    @reason: asking someone if they are mentally ill does not mean asking if someone is retarded.

  • gregger

    @Bob: ya’ think??

  • Jeffree

    Blowing someone a kiss isnt really an agressive gesture. The (former) police officer no doubt experienced worse than that before. Plus,14 year olds are not known for good judgement, and the cop’s over-reaction was out of line.

    @Hepaestion: That would be a great title for a novel ! “When idiots collide”


    Hmm… I might think the cop was a bit aggrevated when the boy called him a ni##er.

  • reason

    @well,: @gregger: Obviously! Which is why I used mentally ill in my post, but if you think some redneck hillbilly cop can delineate between the two your probably sadly mistaken. The moral of the story is approach a man/women with a gun as if they are unstable, cop or no cop, if not you might have a death wish. To reiterate cops kill innocent people for lesser offences, and with the gangster behavior of the departments the good cops will close ranks and protect their own. Most cops are good but it only takes one bad cop, so treating all of them with kid gloves is the most intelligent thing to do. I haven’t meet a fourteen year old in this decade that doesn’t know that cops can be dangerous, you are talking about a high schooler not a toddler.

  • neil

    whats worth than a crappy cop? A BEACH COP!! lol. lousy pieces of garbage. i’m the first to admit that cops are people, some are good and some are bad. its ignorant to say all cops are bad. but i will fully support the opinion that all BEACH cops are bad! lol.

Comments are closed.