A Black man from Boulder who used a cane while recording a police officer’s interaction with a group of homeless people has been arrested for allegedly refusing to put it down.
In a police report, Boulder Officer Waylon Lolotai said he was out doing patrols last Friday when he saw three transients “lounging around a large pile of property and trash,” according to Colorado Daily. Lolotai said he asked them for their IDs. It was then that Lolotai said Sammie Lawrence, 26, approached and started videotaping the interaction and was carrying “a large staff” in his hand, Lolotai wrote in the report.
The officer, in the police report, said he told Lawrence that he was fine with him filming the encounter but asked him to move away and to drop his cane. Allegedly Lawrence refused to drop the cane and the officer wrote that he was “alarmed by Sammie’s refusal to drop the staff” and told him he would be arrested if he refused to oblige.
Once two additional officers arrived, they allegedly asked Lawrence to move back and when he didn’t, Lolotai wrote in the report, he attempted to arrest him but Lawrence “violently pulled away” and refused to drop his cane until Lolotai kicked it away.
Lawrence has a different take. He took to Facebook to post a video of his arrest in which he can be heard saying “Stop it, you are assaulting me,” as the recording shows officers taking him to the ground, according to Colorado Daily.
In the video, Lawrence said he needs the stick to help him keep his balance because of challenges with past seizures. The newspaper described the staff as having a rubber tip bottom and depicting a wooden dragon at its handle.
Police took Lawrence to the hospital before taking him to Boulder County Jail on charges of obstructing a peace officer and resisting arrest. He was later released on bond, although not with his walking stick, which police are keeping as evidence, according to the police report.
The incident comes one month after Boulder police confronted a black student as the student picked up trash in his own yard, according to Colorado Daily.