Missouri officer investigated after police SUV strikes man before arrest

Associated Press

Dellwood, Mo.  — A police officer from a St. Louis suburb has been suspended and is under investigation by local and federal authorities after a video was released that appears to show a police SUV knocking a man to the ground and striking him before arresting the man.

St. Louis County police say the incident involving an officer from Florissant happened around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday in Dellwood, Missouri. The events were captured by a resident's doorbell camera, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The video shows the police SUV striking the man as he runs past a home. Then the officer jumps on top of the man and appears to hit him before cuffing him.

“After seeing that video, I was deeply concerned about the content of it,” Florissant Police Chief Tim Fagan said at a news conference.

Fagan said he hadn’t seen the video until Saturday, four days after the incident.

“We want the same answers that the public does,” he said.

Florissant police spokesman Steve Michael said the 31-year-old detective who was driving the SUV, who police have not named, has been suspended. Two other officers have also been put on leave.

Fagan said the man in the video was treated at the hospital for an ankle injury. Fagan said the man and others with him face charges for drug paraphernalia and resisting arrest.

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said a special prosecutor has been appointed in the case because a relative of one of his staffers was at the scene of the incident. St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar's office is investigating what happened with the help of St. Louis County police and the FBI.

“I haven’t seen anything yet other than the video,” Lohmar said Saturday. “We’re just waiting for the reports to come in but what I’ve seen is pretty shocking.”

U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen issued a statement saying his office, the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice and the FBI are aware of the case and will review the evidence to determine what federal response is warranted.

“Experienced prosecutors and agents have been assigned to review the matter for potential federal civil rights violations,” Jensen said.