A newly-released police dash cam video shows Robert Earl Lawrence being shot and killed by Sgt. Adrianne Woodruff while Lawrence was trying to drop off a stray dog at the Dothan Animal Shelter in Alabama on Dec. 30, 2014.
Lawrence was asked by the animal shelter for his driver’s license, but refused to show it. Shelter employees refused to accept the stray dog without a driver’s license.
The shelter employees reportedly told Lawrence that he couldn’t leave if he was going to dump the dog.
Woodruff, who was stationed at the shelter, followed Lawrence to his car and refused to let him leave without producing a driver’s license, notes the Alabama Media Group.
According to Lawrence’s cousin, Alan Cantu, Lawrence had been reading about the sovereign citizen movement, which is against the constitutionality of driver’s licenses.
Woodruff taunted Lawrence before killing him minutes later, notes the Alabama Media Group:
You’re so smart you’ve got half the teeth in your mouth. You’ve got poor hygiene… I can see you’re very wealthy man.
Woodruff would later claim that Lawrence’s supposed crime was not showing her a driver’s license.
Officers Alan Rhodes and Renee Skipper were called to the scene. Rhodes got angry with the way Lawrence was standing by his car, and initiated a struggle with Lawrence who repeatedly begged the police to stop.
Rhodes insisted that he was going to arrest Lawrence for an unknown crime, which escalated the situation.
Woodruff reached her arm between the arms of Rhodes and Skipper, pressed a gun into in Lawrence’s gut and executed him without warning.
Woodruff later testified that she shot Lawrence because he was trying to use a police Taser on Rhodes: “I was afraid that Officer Rhodes would be incapacitated, which would leave me.”
However, Skipper was on the scene.
Despite public interest, the police dashcam video was not released to the public. That changed in August 2018 because of a lawsuit filed against Woodruff and the City of Dothan by Lawrence’s family.
The Dothan Police Department cleared Woodruff in 2015 by claiming that Lawrence had taken control of her Taser and was an armed threat.
However, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Baker ruled in July 2018 that Lawrence did not flee and “a jury could conclude that Lawrence did not pose a serious threat of harm to the officers to warrant the use of deadly force by Woodruff.”
Baker also ruled that “it is undisputed that Woodruff gave no warning before shooting Lawrence,” and that Woodruff admitted Lawrence did not threaten her physically nor verbally.
Woodruff reportedly claimed that Lawrence used non-verbal mannerisms and his “getting in her face” made her “uncomfortable,” which apparently was justification enough for Woodruff to execute Lawrence in front of his three children and girlfriend.
Lenton White, attorney for the City of Dothan and Woodruff, told the Alabama Media Group that the (fuzzy) video shows a reasonable threat, and that police could simply execute people before those people used a police weapon against the officer:
The law doesn’t require a police officer to wait until his own weapon is used against him before he can use deadly force.
Woodruff, who killed Lawrence in front of his children, has blamed the shooting on her PTSD and ending her career.
Woodruff, who has said she would shoot Lawrence again in the same scenario, is living off taxpayer money in the form of disability checks.
(Source: Alabama Media Group)
(Source: Alabama Media Group)
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