After a year-long fight to keep his job, former Chaska Police Officer Joshua Lawrenz is officially fired.
Lawrenz’s troubles began in September 2014 when about 25 Latino residents of Chaska accused the 14-year veteran officer of terrorizing their community.
One by one, they lined up at the Chaska City Council to plead for help. Natalie Lopez said Lawrenz had a way of staking out the entrance of the Brandondale Mobile Home Park. He threatened to arrest her if she refused to produce immigration papers, Lopez said, and told her that he wanted to send her back to Mexico.
Lawrenz was put on paid administrative leave while an outside investigator, Soldo Consulting Group, investigated the accusations against him. He was fired in April 2015.
The police union rose to Lawrenz’s defense, arguing there was no just cause for his termination, and that his clean personnel records up until that point should have amounted to something. Friends of Lawrenz raised a little more than $2,000 on GoFundMe to help him fight for his job. His wife scolded Chaska Police Chief Scott Knight for making a “politically motivated” decision.
Lawrenz chose to contest his firing through a final and binding arbitration hearing that lasted 10 days. The conclusion was that Chief Knight was right, and Lawrenz really, truly needed to be canned.
Apparently Lawrenz’s shenanigans had caused a major headache for the Carver County Attorney’s Office, which had to dismiss all active prosecutions where Lawrenz was the primary investigator and the defendant had a Hispanic last name. The Carver County Attorney also declared that Lawrenz wouldn’t be allowed to testify for the office ever again, according to a Chaska Police Department news release.
“Lawrenz also provided untruthful answers during his internal investigation interview,” the release concluded. “If a police officer is not honest and truthful in his dealings, the integrity and honesty of the officer will forever be called into question.”