Carly Downs was violently beaten by the Lawrence Police on February 20, 2024 for peacefully protesting on a public street. She was pummeled by 2 male officers, shattering her sunglasses and cutting her face when they threw her to the ground, and piled on top of her, breaking two of her ribs. Sergeant Mike Simard of Lawrence PD also stole her keys, and twice lied about it. Only the next day were her keys returned to her after video surfaced showing he knowingly took her house and car keys from the scene.

For about 2 hours, a group of 9 people stood outside of the Lawrence DCF (Dept of Children and Families) Office, in protest of government overreach. They held signs, and peacefully chanted “Defund DCF” and “Dads have rights too”. When the Lawrence Police approached, they immediately escalated the peaceful assembly into violent chaos. They put protester Shawn Nelson in handcuffs and told him he was under arrest for “disturbing the peace” for using a megaphone. When Carly tried to ask the officers why Shawn was being arrested, they immediately grabbed her and slammed her to the ground, placing her under arrest, also for “disturbing the peace”. Lawrence PD also charged both Carly and Shawn with “resisting arrest” even though neither of them resisted upon being told they were under arrest.

The Lawrence police are accustomed to using excessive force to mishandle and abuse the public. They do not wear body worn cameras - even though they have been funded twice to purchase them.

After interfering with Carly’s 1st Amendment right to protest/peacefully assemble and using excessive force to silence her and unlawfully arrest her on bogus charges, the Lawrence PD took their abuse of power further, to violate her 2nd Amendment rights as well. They then contacted Carly’s local police department and told them to suspend her license to carry, stripping her of her 2nd Amendment rights to self-defense. She has been made to turn over her legally licensed firearms as a result.