O’FALLON, Mo. – Florissant Police Chief Tim Fagan called this a sad day for his police department but an important day for his community.
Chief Fagan made that comment after the announcement that former Florissant officer Joshua Smith, 31, had been charged with first-degree assault, armed criminal action, and fourth-degree assault.
Smith turned himself in Wednesday morning and was held on a $50,000 cash-only bond.
“It’s important in this circumstance that the community know that in the event our officers step outside their duties, and they do things they should not, they will always be held accountable, as every other citizen and every other member of the public,” said Chief Fagan.
Chief Fagan also said he hopes that once the wounds of this incident heal, that the city and police department can become better on the other side.
St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar said in other similar cases that have not been officer-involved, there have been similar charges.
First-degree assault and armed criminal action are both felony charges that carry 10 to 30-year sentences, with a minimum of 3 years.
Attorney Scott Rosenblum is representing the former officer.
“I wouldn’t be representing (Smith) if i didn’t think it was an accident,” he said.
The department fired Smith after a viral video shows the former officer appearing to hit a man with an unmarked police vehicle.
The first video sparked protests. The attorney obtained the second video from a neighbor, which shows a different angle.
Yesterday, a new video surfaced showing another angle of the incident. The new video came courtesy of the Legal Solution Group, who represents the unnamed victim, and shows the moment Smith struck the man.
Smith was driving an unmarked vehicle at the time of the incident. After he hit the man, Smith got out of the car and began kicking and hitting the man.
Lohmar also said it’s clear from the video that Smith filed a false police report of the incident.
Smith told police he believed the vehicle he was chasing was involved in a “shots fired” call at the Ferguson Police Department on May 30. He said the black Dodge Charger had illegally tinted windows, a broken headlight, and no front license plate. It failed to signal while changing lanes.
The initial traffic stop was in the 9800 block of Eastdell Drive. That is where the officer also struck the victim with an unmarked Ford Explorer. This broke the man’s ankle.
Attorneys Jermaine Wooten and Jerryl Christmas said their client had surgery on his ankle and is immobile. They’re having to meet with the client at his home because he cannot come into their office.
“When the officer jumped on him and started beating him, the bone had already ruptured the skin, so bone was bulging out of his leg while he was beating him,” Christmas said.
Wooten said his client is satisfied after learning of the charges.
“He’s been going through unimaginable pain and this gave him a sense of relief,” Wooten said.
Meanwhile, Lohmar said the investigation is still underway. He said six officers were involved, as well as paramedics. Investigators are still trying to get interviews with those involved.
At this point, it’s not clear why the victim and two other men jumped out of their moving car and ran in different directions.