FLORISSANT, Mo. – Local clergy joined with area community leaders, calling for the immediate termination of a Florissant police officer. The officer was suspended after a viral video surfaced, showing what appears to be the officer’s unmarked patrol vehicle striking a running man.
“We don’t want another Minneapolis in Florissant, we don’t want another Ferguson in Florissant,” said Reverend Darryl Gray, Political Advisor for the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition.
Gray was joined by nearly 10 other clergy and community leaders, demanding the officer be fired and that the region joins efforts to demand change.
The incident that sparked the protesters was caught on video from a doorbell. It shows what appears to be an unmarked police vehicle striking a man running. A detective then gets out of the vehicle, gets on top of the man, and hits him as he tries to restrain his hands behind his back.
Related content: Watch doorbell video here
Chief Tim Fagan said police were looking for a black Dodge Charger in connection with shots fired across from the police department earlier this week. He has asked St. Louis County to investigate the case.
St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell recused himself from the investigation due to a conflict of interest. He says a close relative of a staffer in our office was at the scene of the incident. Bell requested St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar handle the investigation
Rev. Gray says the officials investigating need to move quickly and act decisively.
Bishop Elijah Hankerson, President of the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition also was at the event. He said he spoke with the injured man’s mother this morning and wanted the community to know her son has never been in trouble with the law and that he is in a lot of pain right now.
Hankerson also said the mother is happy for the homeowner who shared the doorbell video, saying if it wasn’t for the video, the incident may not have come to light.
“We teach our young people what to do if they are pulled over. Yes, we tell them not to from the police run. But we have situations where police are using their vehicles as weapons, that is attempted murder. And so we stand against that,” said Hankerson.
The event took place in front of the Florissant police department. Sunday night, Bommarito Automotive SkyFOX helicopter was over about 100 peaceful protesters in front of the building, blocking traffic.
The Missouri National Guard, the Missouri Highway Patrol, and St. Louis County Police monitored the protest. It ended at around 11:00 pm.