A Boulder police officer said he became “alarmed” when a man with a walking stick who was recording him did not drop the stick to ease his fearful mind.
But the man arrested, Sammie Lawrence, said he uses the staff to control his seizures. And he told the cop that his right to use the staff as a cane was protected by the American with Disabilities Act.
However, Boulder police officer Waylon Lolotai was unable to continue his investigation on a trio of homeless people sitting on a sidewalk eating food with the terrifying thought of Lawrence attacking him with the stick lingering in his mind.
Lawrence’s video shows the staff has a rubber tip on the bottom and a wood carving of a dragon at the top but the cops weren’t taking any chances.
According to the Daily Camera:
According to a police report, Boulder Officer Waylon Lolotai was doing extra patrols on Friday afternoon near the Mapleton Ball Fields near 30th Street and Mapleton Avenue at the request of Boulder police Chief Greg Testa.
While on patrol, Lolotai reported seeing three transients “lounging around a large pile of property and trash,” and approached them and asked for ID.
At that time, Lolotai wrote in his report that a man later identified as Sammie Lawrence, 26, approached him while recording the interaction. Lolotai wrote in the report Lawrence was carrying “a large staff” in his hand, and asked Lawrence to move away.
In the police report, Lolotai wrote he was OK with the filming as long as Lawrence dropped the cane. When Lawrence refused to drop the stick, Lolotai said he was “alarmed by Sammie’s refusal to drop the staff” and told Lawrence he would be arrested if he continued to refuse orders.
Two other officers arrived on scene and also gave orders for Lawrence to move back. When he did not, Lolotai tried to arrest Lawrence. Lolotai wrote in the report Lawrence “violently pulled away” and did not let go of the staff until Lolotai kicked it away from him.
Police arrested Lawrence on obstruction and resisting arrest charges and confiscated his walking stick.
But evidently they did not confiscate his phone because he was able to post the video on Facebook.
Boulder police said the incident was captured on the cop’s bodycam which they apparently have reviewed and decided against an internal investigation.
However, eight officers from the department are under internal investigation for an incident last month in which eight cops showed up to a black man’s home and confronted him from picking up trash from his own front porch.
The video shows that Lawrence deliberately not recording the cop’s face out of respect for his “privacy” but he has no expectation of privacy in public and we need to see their faces to better hold them accountable for their unlawful and abusive actions.