In an infuriating case of déjà vu all over again, a New Jersey woman named Marella Lawson was stopped by the same cop she had sued for abuse a year earlier, only to get abused in almost the same manner.
This time, the incident was captured on the dash cam of Bridgeton Patrol Officer Shane Sawyers, a hot-headed cop who serves as president of the local police union.
The latest incident took place in March 2015, but the video is only now surfacing after it was obtained by Fox 29.
The video shows Lawson parked on the side of the road after having been pulled over by Sawyers because he suspected she was driving with a suspended license.
When she realized the New Jersey cop who had pulled her over was Sawyers, she refused to roll down her window, saying she was in fear for her safety.
She even called 911, asking for a state police officer to respond to the scene.
And that is understandable considering that on April 20, 2013, Sawyers arrived at her home with other cops to arrest her for violating a no contact order on another woman with whom she apparently had some dispute. Lawson was accused of calling the woman, leading to her arrest.
Lawson, who is a diabetic, was in the middle of eating a meal when the officers arrived that day, so she asked them if she could at least finish eating before they took her to jail, knowing it could be a while before she would be able to eat again.
But Sawyers ordered another cop to pull the plate away, saying she had eaten enough, according to the original lawsuit filed in January 2014.
Then when she reached for a glass of orange juice, Sawyers grabbed her arm and twisted it behind her back, causing her to scream in pain because she also has a condition known as “frozen shoulder,” which affects up to 20 percent of diabetics, mostly women between the ages of 40 and 60, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Lawson, 45, was described in a 2011 news article as having a “broken tibia turned into a tumor in her bone, which limits her mobility,” so her physical disabilities have been documented even before the 2013 arrest.
According to the lawsuit:
As Plaintiff screamed in pain, she told Defendant Sawyers that her arm could not bend backwards, due to a frozen shoulder injury.
Next, Defendant Robbins grabbed Plaintiff’s right arm and told her he was arresting her for resisting arrest.
Defendant Sawyers then threw Plaintiff to the floor, and Plaintiff begged the Officers not to pull her arm back, because of her frozen shoulder injury.
While on the floor, as Plaintiff begged Defendant Officers to stop abusing her, she locked her two hands in front of her body, asking Defendant Robbins to cuff her arms in front of her body, instead of behind her body, due to her injury.
Instead of cuffing Plaintiff, Defendant Sawyers punched her in the face and kicked her.
While still on the floor, Defendant Robbins held Plaintiff by her legs as Sawyers pulled her hair and banged her head against the floor.
Defendant Sawyers then ordered Defendant Robbins to mace Plaintiff, and Robbins complied, spraying Plaintiff with mace all over her face, eyes, mouth, nose, in her hair, and down her neck.
As a result of Defendant Officers’ abuse, Plaintiff has suffered shoulder injuries, neck injuries, and psychological harm, and other injuries.
Fast forward to the April 2015 incident, the dash cam video shows Sawyers busting out her back window after she refused to roll down her window.
Then Sawyers and two other cops open the doors from both sides and drag her out of the car as she pleads with them to be easy, repeatedly telling them she has frozen shoulder.
But the cops were too busy yelling “stop resisting” to hear what she was saying.
As they did in 2013, they threw her to the ground and pepper sprayed her, forcing her arms behind her back as she screamed in pain.
All over a suspected suspended license.
During the struggle, cops can be heard saying she scratched their hand and that she was kicking them, but the video shows they were the only ones being aggressive.
Lawson was charged with felonies, which were reduced to misdemeanors of harassment and resisting arrest that are still pending.
And Sawyers and his cohorts were cleared of any wrongdoing. The dash cam video is below but be sure to watch the Fox 29 video as well.
The Lawson’s federal lawsuit against Sawyers and the Bridgeton Police Department has been amended to include the latest incident.
A month after the incident took place, the city of Bridgeton dished out a $500,000 settlement to a man they beat up after he blew the horn at them on February 2013, two months before Lawson’s first incident with them.
The officers listed in that suit were Richard Zanni, Angel Santiago, Joseph Camp, Nicholas Caprio, Joshua Soper and Miguel Martinez. Also named are Chief Mark W. Ott and Lieutenant J. Branch.
The other officer listed in Lawson’s initial suit is Robert Robbins. We will obtain the latest amended lawsuit to see what other names are listed there.