New felony case filed against former Lawrence police officer

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Prosecutors have filed a new case against a former Lawrence police officer, David Shane Williams. 

Williams, 34, was scheduled for a first appearance in Douglas County District Court on Wednesday afternoon. The new case is connected to the same allegations of a previous case that was filed in December 2019 and later dismissed. 


Williams had been accused of using his police officer credentials to seek out information about the driving records of the mother of his child. That allegation resulted in a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct. 

In the new case, Williams is also charged with a low-level felony, unlawful acts concerning computers. The complaint, filed by Assistant District Attorney Nick Vrana, alleges that Williams “did … exceed the limits of authorization and damage, modify, alter, destroy, copy, disclose or take possession of a computer, computer system, computer network or any other property.”

The same list of witnesses on both complaints includes some Lawrence police officers and an LPD network manager. 

Williams’ previous case had been set to go to trial in August 2021, but his defense attorney, Michael Riling, filed a motion to continue. 

In that motion, Riling wrote that his client intended to challenge the official misconduct statute “because the phrase ‘confidential information’ is defined only by reference to the Kansas Open Records Act. That definition is vague and arbitrary for the purposes of a criminal statute.”

The next day, Vrana filed a motion to dismiss the case “out of necessity,” and the judge granted it.

The new case, which includes a charge under the same statute as the previous case (K.S.A. 21-6002(a)(3)(b)(1)(A)), was filed Jan. 24, court records show. 

Riling is again representing Williams, and reached via email Wednesday, he declined to comment for this article. 

Williams’ next court date is set for 9 a.m. April 19 in the courtroom of Judge Kay Huff, court records show.

All arrestees and defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted. 

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Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached at mclark (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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