Counsel: Boulder followed procedure in not investigating officer who took man’s walking stick and arrested him

BOULDER, Colo. — Special counsel hired by the city of Boulder announced Tuesday the Boulder Police Department followed procedures properly when it chose not to open an internal affairs investigation into a police officer's conduct after he arrested a man who was observing him in a park and took his walking stick.

FOX31 obtained the body camera footage from the April 5 arrest that led the Boulder City Council to ask for the independent review.  The video shows the arrest of 26-year old Sammie Lawrence by Boulder Police Officer Waylon Lolotai.

In the Lawrence arrest, Lolotai initially responds to a city park to question people who were homeless about trash.  Lawrence can soon be seen on Officer Lolotai's body cam walking over with the aid of walking stick to observe.

Waylon Lolotai

Lolotai can be seen telling Lawrence to back away, and Lawrence responding, saying he wants to observe Lolotai's interaction with the people in the park. Lolotai also told Lawrence to put down his walking stick, but Lawrence refused, saying he needed it because he sometimes suffers from seizures.

The Boulder City Council hired Bob Troyer, who spent 14 years as a federal prosecutor and two as the U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado, to review the police department's procedure when deciding not to open a Professional Standards Unit investigation, according to a news release from the city of Boulder.

Troyer and other independent investigators were directed "not [to] investigate the underlying event," according to the report, but to focus on whether or not the police department followed procedures and decided properly not to open the investigation into the officer's conduct.

The  FOX31 Problem Solvers have previously reported Lolotai was a Denver Sheriff Deputy who quit the department in June of 2016 while under investigation for an excessive force allegation involving an inmate. A month later he began employment as a Boulder Police Officer.

Last month, Lolotai and the Boulder Police Department were sued by Kelly Clark for excessive force over a July 2018 incident where she says Lolotai pushed her backwards onto concrete pavement in an episode similar to the incident captured on surveillance video at the Denver Detention Center.

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