Comment posted to The Boulder Beat, an online news source

See: Second police confrontation with unarmed black man in Boulder may get independent review.

My two cents copied below:

Copied from the Boulder Police blotter for April 5, 2019:

“An officer was contacting three individuals with trash around them at the Mapleton Ballfields when he was approached by a man carrying a long walking stick. The officer asked the man to move back as he was not involved. The man indicated he was going to record the officer’s contact. The officer acknowledged that the man was video recording and asked him to either move back or place his walking stick on the ground so that the officer could finish his contact with the three individuals. The officer told the man that he would be arrested if he did not move back. He refused multiple requests from the officer. While being taken into custody the man fought with officers. The man was medically cleared at Boulder Community Health and then taken to jail. The man was arrested for obstructing a peace officer and resisting arrest. Case# 19-3603”

I have used a cane to get around since 2011, due to a severely arthritic hip. On several occasions, I have been contacted by law enforcement officers from different agencies; a couple of times, I was asked to put aside my cane and also to keep my hands out of my pockets while we talked. I was happy to comply, because I fully realize there is an issue of officer safety that has nothing whatsoever to do with civil rights. BTW, in a decade spent as a homeless camper year-round in Boulder and its environs, I never received a ticket for anything nor was I arrested. The many contacts I had with law enforcement were of the “check welfare” variety in severe weather conditions, except for one incident which led to me filing a formal complaint against then-Officer Sam Carter for leaving the jurisdiction to contact me in the middle of the night; the matter was resolved in my favor, I received an apology, along with assurances that dispatchers in the future would be more careful to communicate the nature of a citizen’s call — check welfare and not a report of a disturbance. I handled my complaint as anyone should, and was satisfied with the outcome.

On my blog, I published a screenshot of a page from the City of Boulder newsletter for December 2016 / January 2017. It shows Sammie Lawrence in apparent earnest conversation with Officer Abel Ramos of the Boulder PD Homeless Outreach Team. (No walking stick can be seen in the photo. In addition, a Daily Camera article from 2016 states that Sammie Lawrence had arrived in Boulder just 20 days earlier, and wanted to become a Boulder firefighter. When did he become disabled by a seizure disorder? Something treated with skepticism, according to Sammie’s own account on Reddit r/Boulder, by police officers, hospital staff, and Boulder County jailers.)

Bottom line: Many of us in the broader community who have been around a long while believe that Sammie Lawrence is role-playing the victim of racist cops and of a society which treats the homeless badly (according to some homeless people).

Sadly, there are many apologists and enablers for bad behavior among homeless people. All it does is make the vast majority of us peaceful and law-abiding homeless folks look bad in the public’s eyes, because anyone who displays a belligerent attitude and then fights the police can play the victim card and gain a ton of support from a gullible populace.

Max R. Weller

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