The same Colorado police officer we reported about in April, who is currently under independent review for arresting Sammie Lawrence in 2018 for filming an interaction between the officer and his city’s homeless population was also named in an excessive force lawsuit filed by 41-year-old Kelly Clark in U.S. District Court late last week.
Video of the incident taken by a witness shows Bolder cop Waylon Lolotai shoving Clark with so much force, her small body goes airborne.
On top of being physically brutalized, officer Lolotai also filed a false criminal charge of obstructing a peace officer on Clark, according to the Denver Post.
Lolotai, along with the city of Boulder and the Boulder Police Department, are named as defendants in the lawsuit filed on Clark’s behalf.
According to her complaint, on July 15, 2018, Clark observed Lolotai and three other officers arresting a man with what she thought amounted to excessive force.
That’s when Clark along with several other witnesses began recording the interaction with their cell phone cameras.
When she moved closer to get a better shot of the arrest with her camera, Clark flew into a rage, screaming at her to get back before shoving her, sending her flying through the hair before her body slams to the ground.
“To cover up his misconduct, Officer Lolotai and the Boulder Police Department detained Ms. Clark and instituted false criminal charges against her,” the lawsuit, which notes the obstruction case against her was later dismissed, alleges.
“This act of extreme aggression and use of excessive force on citizens who are lawfully attempting to hold Boulder police officers accountable for their conduct follows a disturbing pattern by officer Lolotai and other members of Boulder law enforcement of using force and false charges against citizens who are merely seeking to observe and document use of force by the Boulder Police Department,” the lawsuit alleges.
Zack Wagner, Clark’s attorney for the civil rights lawsuit filed May 16 argued in the suit that Boulder police officers frequently make baseless claims of fear for their safety as a way to justify their use of excessive force.
Wagner says officers in Boulder frequently charge victims for false crimes like obstructing a peace officer, failure to obey a lawful order, or resisting arrest.
Clark’s lawsuit also alleges that the Boulder Police Department’s culture “has condoned, ratified and encouraged such extreme aggression and excessive use of force by its police officers” for so long, Wagner argues that’s why [the department] sought to hire defendant Lolotai: for having those same characteristics.
“They knew that he was under investigation for inappropriate use of force against an inmate at the Denver Detention Center where Officer Lolotai was employed as a deputy with the Denver Sheriff’s Department,” the complaint filed on behalf of Clark reads.
When Lolotai applied to the Boulder Police Department in 2016, he was told he could not be considered for a position with the department due to an active internal affairs investigation into him at the Denver Sheriff’s Department, according to Boulder police spokeswoman Shannon Aulabaugh.
Clark’s lawsuit is seeking damages for violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, unconstitutional seizure, malicious prosecution and excessive force.
A hearing date for Clark’s lawsuit has not yet been set, according to court records.