A sadistic sergeant from a Vermont police department was fired for punching a handcuffed woman in the face who had kicked a cell door while he was having dinner inside a police station.
St. Albans Police Sergeant Jason Lawton claimed the woman had kicked him in the shin which led to him charging her with assault but body cam video shows he was the one who assaulted her by shoving her against the wall with his forearm after she stood up in her cell with her hands cuffed behind her back.
“Don’t come at me like that,” he tells her, trying to come across as a victim.
“How fucking dare you!” responds Amy Connelly, 35, who had been arrested for disorderly conduct and criminal mischief for her drunken behavior at a local bar.
“He has hurt me!” Connelly tells another cop.
“Shut up,” Lawton yells.
The handcuffed woman then stands up in her cell again, this time appearing to lift her leg, which is when Lawton shoves her against the wall, then punches her in the face.
“Don’t fucking kick me!” he tells her after he has thrown her to the floor.
He then begins addressing her in that condescending tone cops take when they believe they are in full control.
“Now you’re going to get an assault charge and now you’re going to go to jail,” he says.
“Oh my God, you guys … You guys are brutes!” Connelly stammers through tears.
“Yup, sure. You just tried to take me,” Lawton responds.
And that’s normally all a cop has to say to be granted the power to beat and kill and file false charges against a person.
But now that the video has surfaced thanks to the ACLU, Lawton may wind up with criminal charges for his actions, according to Seven Days, a weekly Vermont newspaper.
(Gary) Taylor, the St. Albans chief, said Lawton “did well” and received honors for his work with the department, including a promotion to sergeant. Taylor said he first heard about the Connelly case when the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont sent a letter on May 23 requesting footage under the state’s public records law.
When Lt. Benjamin Couture pulled the file, Taylor recounted, “He came back to me and said, ‘I think there’s a problem here. We probably need to take a hard look at this.’”
“I was unhappy,” the chief said, about the video. “I was unpleased. I’ve been doing this a long time and that’s just not acceptable.”
He ordered an internal investigation on June 3 and fired Lawton on July 1.
But criminal charges of simple assault are still pending against Connelly.
On Thursday, her attorney, Albert Fox, filed a motion with the court along with the video asking the judge to drop the charge, saying it was “an absolute miscarriage of justice and a shameful abandonment of the duty police officers owe the public.”
In his motion, Fox also included photos of Connelly’s blackened eye and a “notice of prior bad acts,” including the time when in 2012 when Lawton was a Shelburne police officer and lied about a motorist running a red light when his video shows it was a yellow light.
The story became international news and the motorist, Rod MacIver, settled for an undisclosed amount, according to Seven Days. The videos are no longer on the internet so perhaps part of the settlement was to remove the videos in order to protect the reputation of Lawton and the police department.
But this video is much worse and shows Lawton never learned his lesson about sticking to the truth so please make this sure this video travels far and wide because Lawton will likely wind up at another police agency in the near future.