The man who was punched by a cop during a scuffle at an IHOP in Cobb County has been indicted on a slew of charges related to the altercation that went viral on social media.
Renardo Nehemiah Lewis was indicted last week by a Cobb County grand jury on one count each of aggravated assault on a peace officer, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness; two counts of terroristic threats; four counts each of attempted removal of weapon from a public official; and five counts of obstruction of an officer.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has reached out to Sarah Flack, Lewis’ attorney, for comment about these charges.
Lewis’s run-in with law enforcement began March 31 when Marietta police say he and his wife got into a disagreement with IHOP staff over whether their meal should have included bacon.
According to the indictment, Lewis allegedly told one employee that he would kill him and said he would “shoot everyone in this (expletive).”
Officers were dispatched to the restaurant around 12:48 a.m. and began questioning the couple, who police said became “agitated” during the process.
In a video posted on Instagram by Lewis’ relative, the Marietta resident and his wife repeatedly tell officers no threat was made. One officer grabs Lewis and he responds by telling the cop, “please don’t grab me, sir.” The officer lets go of Lewis, and tells him “I need you to understand” that he and other officers were at the restaurant to investigate the complaint.
The officer asks Lewis to sit down and he refuses saying, “I don’t want to sit down.” The officer pushes Lewis against the wall and tries to place him in handcuffs. A woman can be heard on camera telling Lewis to “let them do what they are gonna do.” Three officers are seen struggling with Lewis, who said “I’m not resisting.”
The video shows Lewis breaking free and the officers once again trying to restrain him. The scene descends into chaos as Lewis’ wife tries to get him to comply while the officers continue to wrestle with him.
According to the indictment, Lewis allegedly grabbed a female officer by the throat and tried to strangle her. He also tried to take a firearm from the same officer, and attempted to remove a taser and handguns of two additional officers.
During the scuffle, an officer used a taser on Lewis, who was wrestled to the ground. The struggle continued, and one officer is seen on video giving Lewis a “series of short-strike punches” while he was on the floor, Marietta police previously said.
“While the video may seem shocking to some, we are very proud that all officers used only the force necessary to place Mr. Lewis in handcuffs,” Marietta police said.
Once in handcuffs, Lewis was taken outside and transported to an area hospital for evaluation. Lewis’ wife is heard asking officers, “Why did y’all do that to him?” The officer responds by stating Lewis resisted arrest and “grabbed my gun,” a claim the wife and woman filming the incident deny in the video.
Marietta police spokesman Chuck McPhilamy said the agency conducted a review to determine if the officers’ actions were in line with the department’s policies. That review indicated the cops who responded to the IHOP call acted within the guidelines and they all remain active duty.
Cobb County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Kim Isaza said prosecutors have notified Lewis that if he is convicted in the case, they will consider his prior convictions when he is sentenced.
According to the DA, Lewis was convicted on charges of felony obstruction and possession of cocaine in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.
Lewis was booked into the Cobb County Jail where he remains held without bond. The Atlanta chapter of the NAACP said on its Facebook page that it will hold a gathering at noon Friday, April 26 at Marietta Square to protest the decision to hold Lewis without bond.