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Press Release

Independence Man Sentenced for Illegal Firearm

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri
Fled on Stolen Motorcycle, Fought with Officers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An Independence, Missouri, man who fled from police officers on a stolen motorcycle and fought with several officers as he resisted arrest was sentenced in federal court today for illegally possessing a firearm.

Michael S. Reaves, 35, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to five years in federal prison without parole.

On April 28, 2021, Reaves pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

An Independence police officer attempted to stop Reaves, who was riding a 2009 Honda motorcycle, on the afternoon of Aug. 27, 2020. Reaves took off at a high rate of speed, nearly losing control of the motorcycle. The officer pursued Reaves, but he was able to get away. A few minutes later, another officer contacted Reaves while he was putting gas in the motorcycle at a Shell gas station at 9040 E. U.S. 40 Hwy. The officer attempted to detain Reaves, but a struggle ensued as Reaves tried to pull away. During the struggle, two DEA agents (who were in Kansas City in support of Operation LeGend) in a car parked nearby got out of their vehicle and helped the officer subdue Reaves. Reaves was actively resisting arrest at this point, including kicking. The struggle continued; at points Reaves tried to stand up while he was being handcuffed. The officer eventually had to deploy a Taser to subdue Reaves and get him into custody.

Officers found a loaded Ruger 9mm handgun clipped to the inside of the motorcycle’s windshield, and a box that contained nine alprazolam pills in a compartment underneath the seat cushion. Officers later determined that the motorcycle was stolen.

Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who is convicted of a felony to be in possession of a firearm or ammunition. Reaves has prior felony convictions for possession of a controlled substance, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, robbery and theft.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew P. Wolesky. It was investigated by the Independence, Mo., Police Department.

Project Safe Neighborhoods

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime.  Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them.  As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. 

Updated August 31, 2021

Project Safe Neighborhoods