ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis police officer is under investigation for allegedly assaulting a man at a gas station Thursday morning.
According to our news partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a source familiar with the investigation said store surveillance cameras recorded the incident. A reporter at the newspaper reviewed the footage, which does not contain audio.
The video shows the officer inside the gas station—located in the 3800 block of Martin Luther King Drive—buying some cigarettes. He’s dressed in street clothes but wearing his gun belt. The Post-Dispatch reported the officer, a detective, was driving his police vehicle at the time.
A man is behind the detective in line and begins talking with him. Witnesses said the man inquired about becoming a police officer.
In the video, the officer turns and gestures at the man behind him. The officer refuses to move from the counter and the clerk pushes the man’s items across the counter. When the man attempts to collect his purchases, the officer shoves the man and starts to strike him.
The Post-Dispatch reported the officer hit the man several times in the face with his handcuffs. At no point does the man, who is larger than the officer, swing back.
The officer uses his radio to call for backup. Police logs show an “officer in need of aid” call at the gas station shortly after 9:30 a.m. When backup arrives, the video shows the officer attempt to place the man in custody.
Witnesses told investigators the man asked why he was being arrested but the officer would not answer him.
As the officer tries to place the man in handcuffs, the man overpowers the officer. He puts the officer on the ground and places his knee in the officer’s back to hold him down.
When the responding officers walk in the door, the man puts his hands behind his back and they take him into custody. The man was taken to a hospital but released a short time later, the Post-Dispatch reported.
A clerk who works at the gas station described the man as a regular at the store. The store owners did not want to release the video to the Post-Dispatch because they did not want the video to go viral. They also did not provide their names to the Post-Dispatch out of fear of retaliation.
The officer, who has been with the department since August 2017, has not been identified because he has not yet been charged with a crime. The police department has not made a public comment on the incident.