DES PERES, Mo. – A St. Louis mother and son are accusing four Des Peres police officers of violating their civil rights and assaulting them inside a Sam’s Club.
Several customers recorded the incident on their cell phones as it unfolded.
The video was released Monday that was captured on cellphones by other customers at Sam’s Club in Des Peres on March 23.
“We are glad that two customers captured the video of the incident and we all know how important that is,” said attorney Andre M. Strong.
In the video, you see 68-year-old Marvia Gray and her son Derek Gray on the ground. The Grays say four Des Peres police officers beat them alleging the pair stole a flat-screen television from the store.
The Grays’ attorney, the St. Louis County NAACP, and the Grays held a Zoom press conference Monday to announce a lawsuit filed against the Des Peres Police Department.
The attorney says the Grays were returning the TV when the four officers allegedly beat, handcuffed, then arrested them.
According to the lawsuit, the Grays bought the television from Sam’s Club. They could not fit the 65-inch TV into their SUV and said they made arrangements with store employees to come back for it.
The lawsuit said Derek came back for the TV later that day but the TV had been moved from the front of the store; when Derek asked store employees about the television, the employees said Derek was stealing the TV.
But another store employee intervened to confirm that Derek had bought the TV earlier that day.
That employee took the TV out of the store and was loading it into the family’s car when officers asked about the TV.
Derek drove to his mother’s house to drop the television off and told her what happened at the store. They decided to return the TV for a refund.
When they came into the store, the family says police seized the TV and assaulted them.
“The police officers involved in brutalizing Marvia Gray and Derek Gray without any cause or provocation and, as caught on the video, the officers shoved, beat both of them inside a Sam’s Club,” Strong said.
“To my surprise, here come four officers, throwing me to the floor and took me by my purse and slammed me to the floor. I looked again and my son is being beaten,” Marvia Gray said.
The Des Peres Police Department told Fox 2 they were not aware of the lawsuit and they’re not commenting on what the Gray family is alleging. The department says they do not comment on legal matters.
Gray family attorney statement:
The video shows the brutal attack by the Des Peres police officers on 68-year-old Marvia Gray and her son Derek. Mrs. Gray thought her son was about to be yet another black man, unjustifiably shot and killed by the police. Whether it’s Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri or Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, we demand justice and accountability to prevent these tragic events from happening in our communities.Andrew M. Strong, the Gray family attorney