Correction 04/17/2013: This article originally stated the name of the police officer as Dan Lalowski. His first name was in fact Dick, and not Dan. LifeSiteNews.com apologizes for the error.
CHICAGO, October 29, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – A federal judge has ruled that verbally abusing a peaceful pro-life demonstrator will cost a police officer his 11-year career in law enforcement.
Dick Lalowski served in the police force in Des Plaines, Illinois, until he accosted a pro-life demonstration in May 2006. He admitted to being unduly harsh to the peaceful protesters while on duty. But it was when he returned after his shift that things got out of hand.
Lalowski berated the protesters for 80 minutes, throwing insults and at one point mocking Catholic priests as child molesters.
In an account published by pro-life blogger Jill Stanek, a woman who was present on the day of the incident described Lalowski’s aggressive behavior. “He came so close to me our noses were touching,” wrote Mary Kay. “He was screaming that I hated men, was a terrorist and that he was going to arrest me also. I repeatedly asked him to back away. He wanted to know why. I told him he was frightening me and making me very uncomfortable. He didn’t budge.”
When another woman defended the pro-lifers’ use of graphic images because they display “the truth,” he lost his temper.
“OK, let’s talk about the truth then,” he said. “You’re fat.”
He proceeded to call the woman a “fat f—-ing cow.” After that he reportedly got down on all fours and demonstrated exercises the woman could do to lose weight.
Lalowski was fired in 2008 following an investigation into his behavior, and subsequently filed a lawsuit.
“It is difficult to imagine more abusive language,” wrote U.S. District Judge James Zagel in his ruling.
He upheld the decision to fire Lalowski for conduct unbecoming an officer, even though Lalowski’s actions took place on his own time.
“Public trust in the police is critical to effective law enforcement, and it is seriously eroded when police officers are perceived as abusing their authority or behaving unprofessionally,” Judge Zagel wrote. “The public is far less likely to cooperate with law enforcement if they anticipate they will not be treated with respect – or worse, subject to verbal abuse.”
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Pro-life demonstrators are often subject to arrest, with uniformed police treatment running the gamut from professional to supportive – to abusive.
This winter charges were dropped against Peter D’Attilio, who said police choked him on his knees and gave him a black eye during an arrest at a Catholic festival.
On the other hand, 21-year-old Jayne White told LifeSiteNews.com that when she and dozens of others were arrested for praying outside the White House, “The D.C. police were very courteous. That was very encouraging.”
“I know they were just doing their jobs,” she said.