Man Brings Cat to Animal Shelter; Gets Killed by Cops

A man doesn’t think he should have to show identification in order to drop off a stray at an animal shelter and ends up killed by cops?

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The Reason.com blog has a really good post about the import of a man fatally shot in the stomach by police. According to Raw Story:

Police fatally shot an Alabama “sovereign citizen” Tuesday during an altercation at an animal shelter.

Investigators said 30-year-old Robert Earl Lawrence became disorderly as he attempted to turn over a stray animal about 12:30 p.m. to the Dothan City Animal Shelter when an employee told him he could not leave without showing identification.

He instead showed paperwork that identified him as a sovereign citizen and, therefore, not bound by federal, state, or local laws.

Employees called police, who attempted to arrest Lawrence after they said he refused to calm down.

Police said Lawrence struggled with the arresting officer, who then shot him in the abdomen.

Lawrence died about 9:50 p.m., authorities said.

Since Lawrence was an “angry white male” he gets none of the help from the media or from any political activists that Michael Brown got. Somehow, his temper and history of violence make him more deserving of death than Michael Brown—as far as we can tell of the media reaction. He simply doesn’t warrant anyone’s sympathy or concern.

In fact, Raw Story makes sure to list every single claim from the Police Department to make sure we regard him as a loser that no one should worry about:

Prosecutors said Lawrence had obvious anger issues and often expressed anti-government views.

He pleaded guilty earlier this year to making harassing communications in connection with threats he made in January 2013 to the State Department of Human Resources, and he served 90 days in jail in that case.

Investigators said he had been angry with the department in connection with a child custody dispute.

Lawrence threatened to take a child hostage like Jimmy Lee Dykes, who snatched a 5-year-old child earlier this year and held him for a week in an underground bunker.

He also made references to the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, investigators said.

Two women filed protection orders against Lawrence this year after he allegedly choked one and threatened another.

Some of that is serious but some of it is mere allegation at this point and other stuff he has already served time for. And why are his opinions on Sandy Hook mentioned as relevant to anything? Are conspiracy theorists now fair game? That won’t make them less likely to believe conspiracy theories!

And it all started because there is a law in Alabama that you don’t get to leave an animal shelter without showing that “your papers are in order”? Is that even true? It blows my mind. Why do we need to call the police because someone doesn’t want to show I.D. at an animal shelter?

Notice there is no claim that Lawrence actually hurt a police officer and that an officer feared for his life. It’s not even clear why they arrested him. Being angry is a crime now? Did they even offer to let him leave with his animal? Again, it is mind-blowing that you are required to show identification at an animal shelter. I’m not getting over that one.

I guess a “sovereign citizen” is something bad, but do we kill political dissidents in this country?

The fact is that, once police kill you, every crime, sin, and vice they can pin on you to the public will be recited as capital crimes for which they were justified in shooting you.

  • Your temper
  • Your domestic problems
  • Your past jail time
  • Your political attitudes.

All of them will mean you were worthy of death and the public should be unconcerned—or rather should praise the heroism of the police.

I think it is fully possible that the police officer was justified at the moment of shooting. But the entire tragedy should never have taken place. Like arresting Eric Garner for selling loose cigarettes, Alabama’s law is a ridiculous reason for a confrontation. Indeed, anyone with any sense of what America is supposed to be should be offended by the requirement for identification.

Nick Gillespie of Reason.com is right: “These are the sorts of stories that drip, drip, drip across newspapers and websites and underscore fears that something is very wrong with law enforcement in today’s America.”