SPOKANE VALLEY, WASHINGTON: On August 20, 2015 a courageous bystander recorded an incident in which Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy harassed, handcuffed, and assaulted an elderly pro-life protester. This is how the bystander described what happened:
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 protester. 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.
Deputy Lawhorn is seen in the video briskly walking over to the protester, pushing his sign to the ground, and handcuffing him. He then grabs the man by the handcuffs and leads him away, using an excessive amount of force.
The woman recording the video attempts to reason with the deputy, but he threatens her with arrest for “obstructing”. At one point, Lawhorn is seen rudely pushing the man in the chest, against the front of the SUV.
After he released the protester, deputy Lawhorn approached the citizen journalist and repeatedly demanded to see her ID (she refused), took down her license plate number, and asked his fellow deputy whether he informed her that she “can be arrested for obstruction if she doesn’t leave” in an apparent attempt to intimidate her.