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No charges in death of arrestee
Law officers cleared of any wrong doing

by Ivan Foley
Landmark publisher

There was no criminal conduct by law officers in the death of a Platte County arrestee in June, a special prosecutor appointed to look at the evidence has ruled.

Emma Lewis, age 50, of Platte City, died in the back of a Platte County Sheriff’s Department transport van the afternoon of June 9 after being arrested for violation of a full order of protection, resisting arrest and assault on a police officer.

She was being transported from a Platte City residence to the jail in Platte City. The ride was about five minutes long, authorities said. Police said she was found in the back of the transport van “with a seatbelt around her neck while still handcuffed with her hands behind her back,” according to a sheriff’s department incident report obtained by The Landmark.

Dwight Scroggins, prosecuting attorney for Buchanan County, had been appointed special prosecutor in the matter by James Van Amburg, presiding judge of Platte County Circuit Court.

The original investigation of the facts and circumstances of the arrest, transportation and ultimate death of Lewis was handled by the Clay County Sheriff’s Department at the request of the Platte County Sheriff’s Department.

“I have reviewed the investigative reports, documents and video compiled by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of Ms. Lewis. I have also reviewed the autopsy report submitted by the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office and a second autopsy report submitted by Frontier Forensics Midwest, L.L.C.,” Scroggins said.

He said he reviewed the information “to make an independent determination of whether or not there was an indication of criminally culpable conduct by any of the law enforcement officers involved in the arrest and transportation of Ms. Lewis.”

The prosecutor added that there “was no indication or evidence of any criminally culpable conduct by the officers involved.”

Scroggins said that based upon his determination, “there will be no charges filed or further investigation requested by me in my capacity as special prosecutor in this matter and the matter is hereby concluded.”

When deputies opened the rear door of the van upon arrival at the jail, authorities say Lewis was not breathing and without a pulse.

Attempts to revive her failed and she was pronounced dead by Northland Regional Ambulance District paramedics, according to the incident report.

The police report indicates Lewis was found “face down in the middle of the floor of the jail van, with her head toward the cab.”

The report indicates Lewis had threatened suicide and had intentionally banged her had on the ground and against the inside wall of the van during her encounter with authorities that afternoon.

The deputies had responded to the residence in the 11000 block of Hwy. 92 to serve an order of protection.