Boulder, CO — In the land of the free, there are ostensible checks and balances which are in place to prevent corrupt and power drunk government officials from overstepping their authority and depriving people of their rights, especially for filming in public. The largest ostensible restraint on this power is the constitution. However, as TFTP has reported for years, despite the fact that police swear an oath to uphold this constitution, they are all too often the ones who ignore it.
As the following case illustrates, to many police officers, the oath they took to the constitution may as well be dog excrement that they scrape from the bottom of their boot. Furthermore, even though there is video evidence of this problem cop repeatedly violating that oath to the constitution by attacking people for filming, absolutely nothing has been done about it.
Officer Waylon Lolotai is a repeat offender, has violated the rights of innocent people, yet he remains on active duty. This is a problem.
Instead of Lolotai facing accountability for breaking his oath, the taxpayers are held to the fire and Kelly Clark, 41, is proving this notion.
On Thursday, Clark filed a federal lawsuit against Lolotai, the city of Boulder and the Boulder Police Department after Lolotai was seen on video attacking the innocent woman for the mere act of filming and observing him—Clark’s First Amendment right.
As the Denver Post reports:
The lawsuit alleges that on July 15, 2018, Clark was on University Hill near 1155 13th St. when she saw Lolotai and three other officers arresting a man with what Clark thought was a concerning amount of force.
Clark said she and some other witnesses began videorecording the arrest on their phones, with Clark moving forward to get a better view of the arrest. Clark said Lolotai then yelled at her to get back and shoved her, causing her to become airborne and slam into the ground.
After savagely attacking the innocent woman, Lolotai allegedly falsified charges against her to cover up his brutality. The lawsuit alleges that, “to cover up his misconduct, Officer Lolotai and the Boulder Police Department detained Ms. Clark and instituted false criminal charges against her.”
Luckily, because there was video evidence of the officer’s misconduct, the falsified charges against Clark were dropped. But Lolotai suffered no consequences.
“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 reads. “In these instances, Officer Lolotai and other Boulder police officers will claim baseless fear for their safety to try to justify their use of excessive force, and Boulder officers charge their victims with crimes stemming solely from the police interaction, such as obstructing a peace officer, resisting arrest, or failure to obey a lawful order.”
As DP points out, the Clark lawsuit alleges Boulder police “have condoned, ratified and encouraged such extreme aggression and excessive use of force by its police officers” and “sought to hire defendant Lolotai for those very characteristics.”
Indeed, Lolotai has a history of aggression and complaints, yet he was hired anyway.
“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 Department,” the lawsuit reads.
Naturally, the police department denies that Lolotai has done anything wrong.
“The city of Boulder does not hire police officers who have any sustained use of force allegations,” Boulder police spokeswoman Shannon Aulabaugh said in a statement. “Any assertion that the Boulder Police Department directs officers to resign before they can be found guilty of a use of force allegation in order to be hired by the city of Boulder is absurd and completely inaccurate.”
However, this sort of thing happens all the time in policing, so much so that there is a term for officers like this: gypsy cops.
What’s more, as TFTP reported last month, Lolotai was caught on video once more savagely attacking an innocent epileptic man who was filming police harass a group of homeless folks.
Sammie Leon Lawrence IV was filming Boulder last month and being very polite about it. Lawrence was well spoken, nice, and even went so far as to not film the officers’ faces to protect their identity. Despite his polite demeanor however, he was tackled and assaulted by Lolotai and his fellow cops, and arrested for filming and using his walking aid for his disability.