ST. LOUIS – Before George Floyd, a St. Louis Justice Center inmate had a similar experience you haven’t heard about. It happened in 2018, but the case has been held up in the courts until just this week.
Former corrections officer Victor Cooper was fired after the incident. He then sued to get his job back. It went all the way to the Missouri Court of Appeals, which ruled Tuesday and upheld Cooper’s dismissal.
Court records describe the incident in detail – an incident which was also captured on video. The court records indicate an inmate said they were transgender and would not go into a cell with men. The handcuffed inmate then reportedly yelled and turned to try to kick then-Lt. Cooper.
What happened next led to Cooper’s termination by the St. Louis Corrections Department.
Court records reflect video in which you can see Cooper putting his knee on the defendant’s neck for a minute and 18 seconds, even while the person appears unconscious. The guard then drags them and drops them on the floor. At one point, it appears the guard is trying to revive the inmate, by slapping them in the face. The court documents say the defendant, only identified by the initials D.B., did eventually wake up.
Cooper was fired for using excessive force in 2018. He sued to get his job back and lost. He then appealed, with his attorney telling the courts his “…(termination) was not supported by competent and substantial evidence to support the commission’s finding that his conduct violated the department of corrections policy and procedure.”
The appeals court disagreed, affirming St. Louis’ termination of Cooper for what happened on the jail video.
Neither Cooper nor Cooper’s attorney would respond to FOX 2’s requests for comment.
Cooper was never prosecuted criminally for what the corrections department called “excessive force,” and there’s no sign the inmate involved ever filed a lawsuit.