Before I get started I would like to make it clear that this article was not intended to be a commentary on the contentious issue of abortion. The point of this is not to take a side in that complex issue, which seems to be divided between two ideological groups that both often gloss over the deeper intellectual issues and implications in favor of self-righteous emotionally charged hyperbole, but to show how in violating free speech, police often act according to politically expedient popular opinion rather than upholding the peace and civil rights with impartiality.
The incident took place in Spokane Valley, Washington on August 20, 2015 and involved a Spokane Sheriff’s Office deputy.
The following text is the introduction given by the witness recording the interaction, who was also harassed for filming the police and testifying to the peacefulness of the man, the eratic behavior of his detractors and the deputies targeting of the single man representing the ideological minority on the scene.
I noticed four women harassing an older gentleman holding a “Choice is Abortion” sign, and pulled over. The women were yelling profanities and insulting the protestor. One of the women was especially aggressive, with her body hovering over him and her finger right in his face. At one point she yelled, “If you turn that sign towards me one more time, I will pound you into the ground.”
I tried my best to de-escalate the situation, but the women continued screaming at the man ‘Jerry Springer’ style.
Throughout the ordeal he remained peaceful. He did not yell. He was polite. He did not reciprocate their threats. After about five minutes Spokane Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene. I breathed a sigh of relief.
However, to my surprise, they ignored the belligerent women, but one of the deputies immediately walked over to the gentle old man and demanded that he put down the sign and submit to questioning.
It is clear, despite fully being able to ascertain the entire verbal interaction between the deputy and the man, that he is being targeted and intimidated for his ideas and their expression. Not satisfied with harassing the peaceful pro-life advocate, the officers then begin harassing the woman for filming and speaking, and threaten her rights by insisting that she discontinues filming and speaking and leave the area. She refuses to comply with these illegal demands.
Meanwhile the man is cuffed as the deputy makes a false display of potential danger by accusing the man of having a weapon in his pocket with no evidence that this is the case whatsoever. The man is then handcuffed and detained while the woman continues to film and testify as to the background and facts of the situation, much to the cops chagrin.
The woman is pointing out the difference in attitude between the officer harassing the man and a second one on the scene, so the first one orders the second to “get her out of here.” The woman again stands her ground, while the first officer continues to detain and harass the protester even after it is ascertained that he had no weapon, which was a ruse to bully the man to begin with.
Even as the woman filming informs the ‘good cop’ that the four women were the ones causing a disturbance and threatening violence, however the deputies continue to ignore them while the man is being derided and intimidated.
Once he had finished harassing the man, the bully deputy (Lawhorn) approaches the woman in an attempt to bully and intimidate her as well. However the woman is very clear about her rights and the law and Cop Blocks Deputy Lawhorn like a pro. While he walks away to call a supervisor, the second deputy kindly asks her to leave in what appears to be an attempt to spare her the wrath of his megalomaniac colleague. She politely declines while praising him for his respectful demeanor.
In her commentary the woman says that she then spoke to the supervisor and expressed her concern that Lawhorn was out of control and seemed to be acting from his political beliefs rather than on behalf of citizens rights and keeping the peace. When she mentions the oath LEO’s take to uphold the constitution to the supervisor, bully cop scoffed, rolled his eyes and exclaimed exasperatedly, “Oh, this again! Can we be done with her?”
At no point should an officer of the law ever use their position to intimidate citizens exercising their rights, just because they disagree with their opinions and beliefs. Yet there is no other explanation for the actions of the deputy. When cops are allowed to enforce their opinions on dissenters as though those opinions were the law, while violating their oath and department standards of conduct, then the activity is no longer law enforcement. It is the very thing in which we have laws to protect us from. In situations like this the very reason that we supposedly have cops is thus shown to be either false or farce, and police become not the champions and protectors of freedom, but the enemy to the ideas upon which our entire society was constructed from.
The pretense of impartiality, objectivity and equal consideration under the law continues to erode as the opinions, emotions and ideologies of cops has become a sanctioned excuse for committing any number of abuses and atrocities against innocent civilians. Whether killing because they ‘felt’ afraid, or harassing because they don’t like you or the way you live, think and act, the subjective worldviews of individual police is becoming as great a threat as the problems intrinsically embedded in the system.
Whether or not you side with pro-choice or pro-life, you should be outraged that the legally protected expression of either viewpoint is being over-ridden by cops who think that their own worldview can be enforced with the special powers their profession bestows upon them. Even the most dangerous governments in history had a consistent agenda amongst their enforcement agents, while American LEO’s are being given free reign to manifest the absurd products of their personal beliefs while just doing their jobs.