Boulder police officer leaves department following social media posts

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BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) —  The Boulder Police Department says an officer who posted several anonymous social media posts to an Instagram account linked to a family-owned business has decided to leave the City. 

The investigation, conducted by a BPD professional standards team, found that Officer Waylon Lolotai violated two departmental policies: one related to the use of social media and another related to outside employment.

Police Chief Maris Herold said both violations were considered minor. Herold said her plan for addressing them would have been additional training and coaching. 

However, BPD said that Lolotai has voluntarily decided to transition out of City employment because of concerns about his and his family’s safety, after activists publicized his home address, and concerns about his ability to be effective as a police officer in Boulder.

He will continue to be a certified police officer, eligible for employment with other agencies and departments, according to BPD.

“While the social media posts were inconsistent with the city’s and department’s values, I believe Officer Lolotai is a skilled police officer who has the potential to make a positive difference in policing,” Herold said. “I wish him the best as he seeks new employment.”

The City is releasing the separation agreement, which is a public record. The agreement provides further information about the terms. 

Lolotai was the subject of a FOX31 Problem Solvers investigation in 2019 after quitting the Denver Sheriff Department in the middle of an excessive force investigation. 

Lolotai quit the Denver Sheriff Department in June 2016 and joined Boulder police a month later in July 2016. At the time of Lolotai’s resignation in Denver, he had been accused of excessive force for an incident caught on surveillance video. The detention center footage from December 2014 has no audio but it shows Lolotai pushing an inmate backwards against a set of stairs after the two men exchanged words.

A year and half later, DSD internal affairs released no public decision about Lolotai’s conduct, and instead called the investigation “resolved” based on his resignation.

Lolotai is also the same Boulder officer who arrested Sammie Lawrence and confiscated his walking aid when Lawrence started recording video of the officer confronting homeless people in a park. 

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