ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Video from a police dashboard camera appears to disprove allegations made on social media that St. Louis police officers pointed guns at children, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said.
At a news conference Wednesday, Chief Dotson addressed claims that police were hostile during a traffic stop, which occurred around 5 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of a Family Dollar store near the intersection of Cherokee Street and Jefferson Avenue.
Dotson said the car was pulled over because the license plate did not match the vehicle. Two adults and four children were inside the car; they were on their way to church.
The officers in question were courteous and professional, and the people in the vehicle cooperated, Dotson said. Police issued the driver, a 19-year-old man, verbal warnings about the license plate violation and driving while not having a child properly restrained.
No tickets were issued and the family was allowed to go on its way, Dotson said.
Later that night, a Facebook posting claimed an officer pointed a gun at a toddler. This led to a protest outside St. Louis police headquarters on Monday night. Approximately 75 people blocked Olive Boulevard for about 20 minutes while chanting “Black babies matter!” Some of the individuals placed baby dolls in the street.
The allegations spread quickly on social media, drawing the attention of State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal (D-University City).
Chief Dotson said this entire ordeal highlights the importance of supplying police with dashboard and body cameras. At present, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department only has about 100 cameras.
This is the dash camera video released by St. Louis police:
"The entire car stop was captured on in-car video camera & is drastically different than what was portrayed on social media."
"Investigation revealed 2 SLMPD officers did conduct a car stop on the parking lot of Family Dollar, 3411 S. Jefferson, at 5:036pm on 2/28"
These are images from the protest: