A man has just stood up to the Columbia, Missouri, police, and his story should inspire us all.
Lawrence Lawhorn had been arrested for an unrelated incident when Columbia, Missouri, officers Chris Papineau and Ryan Terranova allegedly planted drugs in the back seat of the patrol car. Accusing Lawhorn of placing the drugs there, the man was later charged with possession of narcotics.
But at the time of his arrest, the man had been searched for “three and a half minutes,” he said, before he was placed in the police car. If the drugs had been on him the entire time, the officers would have found it earlier and not in the cruiser.
While waiting for his day in court, Lawhorn decided he was not going to let the officers do that to him, Mint Press News reports. Taking matters into his own hands, Lawhorn confronted Papineau in a parking lot, bringing a friend as a witness who was also filming the entire exchange.
In the footage, we see Lawhorn obviously angry at the officer for what he truly believes was an injustice. Thankfully, the incident didn't result in further problems for Lawhorn — quite the contrary.
“You are crooked. You planted drugs on me,” Lawhorn told the officer, to which Papineau said: “I’m tired of you flagging us down, accusing us of being crooked. I didn’t plant s*** on you.”
“You did and I got the tape to prove it,” Lawhorn fired back.
When the officer told Lawhorn that he was tired of having him question his integrity, Lawhorn simply reminded the cop he shouldn't have “planted the dope” if he didn't want to have his reputation tarnished.
At some point during the exchange, Papineau tried to pass on the blame to his partner.
“Who got you out of the car?” Papineau asked Lawhorn, to which he replied that it was his partner, Terranova, who did it. “Who found the dope?” The officer then asked, to which Lawhorn replied: “Terranova.”
“So, why are you sitting here accusing me of anything?” the ticked off cop charged. That's when Lawhorn finally said:
“You want me to tell you why I’m accusing you of putting it there? You told another officer that you did it. I got it on tape.”
Telling the officer it was the end him and that he was going to “die making sure” Papineau would eventually pay for what he did.
After the video surfaced, an internal investigation was initiated, prompting both Terranova and Papineau to pay the prosecutor a visit. According to Mint Press News, the officers told the prosecutor they hadn't searched the patrol car thoroughly before Lawhorn was placed in the cruiser. Thanks to this statement, the charges against Lawhorn were finally dropped.
Toward the end of the video, we see Lawhorn confronting Columbia Police Department’s Internal Affairs Sergeant Brian Tate who states that the officers had told the prosecutor the cruiser hadn't been searched.
Also according to the video, Papineau was relieved from his position as a street crimes detective and placed in the patrol division following the investigation.
If anything, this video and what Lawhorn did prove that many officers are still willing to risk their reputation to ruin somebody's life. Hopefully, this incident will help to ignite a larger debate on how officers operate and how far they are willing to go just to get an arrest.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz