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Report Says Officer Justified in Biting Suspect Who Bit Him

January 15, 1988

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) _ An off-duty officer who bit a burglary suspect after the man sank his teeth into him acted acceptably, if unusually, a police internal investigation has concluded.

Officer Toris Lewis spotted two men leaving a house through a rear window last September and stopped the men. As he arrested Craig Johnson, Johnson bit him and Lewis bit back, police said.

Johnson later complained, saying Lewis bit him three times, and lawyer Carl Survine asked for an internal investigation.

Sgt. G.C. Smith, who headed the investigation, concluded that it was an unusual action for a policeman, but acceptable under the circumstances.

The investigators’ report was mailed Tuesday to Survine.

Smith found Lewis bit Johnson only once, not three times, and noted, ″Officer Lewis was off duty when he arrested Mr. Johnson and was not equipped with any police gear.″

″In my opinion, Lewis’ actions were correct and this allegation has been classified exonerated,″ he said.

However, Survine said Wednesday he was not satisfied. ″We just don’t believe an officer should be allowed to take this kind of action,″ the lawyer said.

Survine said he plans to review the department’s response with other lawyers in the public defender’s office before deciding upon his next move.

″This all seemed strange to me,″ said Survine. ″In fact, at first, I laughed when my client told me about the officer biting him until I saw the tooth marks on his back.″

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