STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. – A Henry County woman is facing charges of obstruction of a police officer and driving without brake lights after a dramatic traffic stop on Dec. 9, 2016.
According to the police report, Henry County officers stopped a vehicle driven by Lauren Angelica Law, after observing that her car's brake lights were not working.
Police said Law rolled her window down only three or four inches as they approached her car. Law used her cell phone to record video of them.
After telling her why she was being pulled over, "she stated this was not a crime and demanded to know what criminal act she had committed,” the report said. “I told her again that her brake lights were not working and told her to hand over her license. She continued to scream at me as I requested additional officers.”
Three other officers then arrived on the scene, all of whom, according to the report, told Law to get out of her car.
Law repeatedly referred the officers to a 40-year-old California Court of Appeals ruling, People vs. Battle. She said the ruling establishes that a traffic infraction is not a crime, and therefore she did not have to give them her drivers license since they were not accusing her of committing a crime.
Law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and courts across the country generally rely on statutes that do require drivers to show their licenses to officers and deputies, when drivers are pulled over for any reason.
On Friday, the officers warned Law they would be forced to arrest her by breaking one of her car windows to open the locked car. She still refused to roll down the window and hand over her license. Police then smashed the front, driver-side car window and arrested Law, who continued recording video.
"Law screamed she had glass in her eyes,” the report said, and police then called for an ambulance. While waiting, they placed Law in the back seat of a patrol car. “She attempted to hold my vehicle’s door open with her foot,” the report said. An officer struck Law’s foot to get her inside the car.
"Ms. Law demanded to know if I practiced law," the officer said in the report. "When I asked if she practiced law also, she said yes."
Law was taken to a local hospital, where she then demanded x-rays to determine if she had any broken bones. She was then taken to the Henry County jail.
Police say they have a dashcam video of the incident, which they say they will release in court as evidence against Law. They also plan to use Law's own video as additional evidence against her.
"The officers’ actions are being reviewed and preliminary findings show the officers acted appropriately and within the law," said a police spokesperson in a statement Monday. "We are preparing for prosecution."
Law said she will seek charges against the officers for the way she says they treated her.
And she says she will dispute the charge that her brake lights were not working on Friday. On Monday, when Law's friends picked up her car from the impound lot, their video shows the brake lights were working.
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