Rolling up on the scene of a St. Ann, Missouri, police traffic stop, with a large police presence and sirens blaring, Lisa Jones Watson began recording.
The video begins once police had the car stopped after a chase. Surrounded by officers, several with guns drawn, a uniformed officer is seen at the passenger side door. Police are commanding the passenger to open the car door. It’s been noted on myriad posts on the police Facebook page that the door was jammed, though that’s not been confirmed. The passenger can be seen however, with his hands up.
Another officer wearing a red shirt and identified as a detective, waves that officer away and then proceeds to smash the car window with three blows of his forearm.
The Passenger Has His Hands Up & Police Smash the Car Window & Drag Him Out Over Glass Shards
Inside, the man in the passenger seat is seen with his hands up and appears frightened. Witt the man’s hands still up, and the the officer drags him through the window over shards of broken glass onto the pavement, he rolls under a guardrail and is handcuffed by the uniformed officer as the detective, with another officer drawing his gun, looking into the car.
On the video, Eddie Mitchell, Watson’s boyfriend, can be heard saying what he saw was “straight abuse,” and yells to the officers, “You know it!”
‘I Know What We Saw’
Watson wrote on Facebook, “I know what we saw and it did not seem justified to me to drag him through broken glass the way they did. He was a passenger not the driver. Look at the beginning of video, his hands were up and he was afraid. None of you would want this to happen to your child. I know I wouldn’t. Before I began recording the guns were drawn and the passenger had tried to surrender peacefully.”
According to a report from a local Fox affiliate, a neighboring town’s police department was chasing a car in which the license plate number was allegedly wanted for a traffic ticket and, it was reported, the license number had a connection to a warrant, thought that detail remains unclear. St. Peters ended its pursuit and broadcast the plate number to area police departments. St. Ann police saw the car and started its own chase.
Mitchell said, “That kid begged not to be shot and told them his door wouldn’t open.”
St. Ann Police Department Defends Its Officer’s Conduct
“This afternoon, St. Ann Police were involved in a pursuit that began in St. Peters and went through multiple jurisdictions before coming through St. Ann. Once the vehicle came to a stop, one of the passengers of the car refused to put his hands up, unlock the door, or open the window. Because it was a dangerous situation, with numerous officers involved and people driving by, our officers had to protect themselves and the public by ensuring that no weapons were going to be used. The passenger’s refusal to cooperate caused a St. Ann detective to break the window. The detective then took him out through the window, handcuffed and taken into custody. At no point was the passenger kicked, punched, or mistreated in any way. At no point was there any abuse on the part of police regardless of what the person driving by, videotaping the incident and screaming that it was ‘abuse.’
A Facebook commenter named Jacques Coleman noted that the passenger is seen mouthing “‘I can’t,’ when ask to exit the car. When you take time to look, the car was damn near pin to the guard rail. The door couldn’t open it he want it to. Proof of it is when he was pulled out the car, he had roll UNDER the guard rail for the other officer to hand cuff him. Smh this has to stop!”
But St Ann Police wrote in reference to its conduct on the arrest, “Unfortunately, this is a reminder that while St. Ann continues to be proactive it is our mission to treat people with the respect they deserve even if they are criminals.”
The post continues, “The St. Ann Police are not judge or jury, however as Chief Jimenez never hesitates to state, we will not tolerate any reckless behavior, including crimes that come into St. Ann.
No police or civilian (except for the suspect’s car when he spun out) were damaged. More importantly, there were no civilians, including passengers of the suspect’s vehicle, and no police officers hurt.”
Police said there were no injuries. But Watson claims she spoke to the passenger who she said was not only not in custody, but was injured.
Some Say Police Acted Appropriately. Many Others Disagreed
And many have pointed out that despite police saying the man did not comply, did not put up his hands and did not open the door, he did have his hands up and the car was very near a guardrail, thought that detail may or may not be relevant to the issue of why the door was not opened. Many have said the man appeared frightened. It’s also noted that police claim no one was injured and Watson says she spoke with the man and he was indeed injured.
On the St. Ann Police Department Facebook page post, comments were largely in praise of the police.
But not all.
“Hands were up before dude started hitting window
Hands were up while dude was hitting window while trying to protect his face
Hands were up when dude managed to break the window
Hands went down when he was forcibly pulled out of the window while there was still broken window attached to the car, which could of punctured and severely caused harm.”
“Nah… the guy was a passenger, he wasn’t posing a threat, he was trying to tell the officer that he couldn’t open the door… it was very clear. He didn’t have to get dragged over shards of glass. They could have got him out from the other side.. he had his hands up. These cops were overdoing it.”