- A viral video shows a police officer in St. Ann, Missouri, smashing a car window to pieces and dragging out the man inside, who can be seen holding both his hands in the air.
- “It shows our restraint,” the police chief said of the video, adding that the suspect “could easily have been shot by law enforcement prior to that video starting.”
- The video has prompted criticism of the police department over allegations that the officer used excessive force to drag the man out of the car.
- The police chief said the man had reached under the seat – a movement the officer may have perceived as a threat.
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A Missouri police chief commended his officer for showing “restraint,” after a video went viral showing the officer smashing a car window and pulling out the man inside.
A video posted to Facebook by a bystander showed police officers surrounding a car with the man in the passenger seat holding up both of his hands. After several seconds in which the video is obscured, a plainclothes officer can be seen repeatedly ramming the window with his forearm until the glass shatters.
The man inside the car can be seen arguing with the officers, with both his hands in the air, before the officer grabs the man’s wrist and collar, then hauls him out of the car-window by the back of his shirt.
“Hey, that’s abuse!” a bystander can be heard yelling.
After being dragged to the ground, the man can be seen rolling onto his stomach as an officer handcuffs him.
St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that moments before the officer busted down the window, the passenger had reached below his seat, which the officer may have perceived as threatening.
Jimenez said the man was trying to stash drug paraphernalia under the seat.
“It shows our restraint,” Jimenez said of the video, adding that the suspect “could easily have been shot by law enforcement prior to that video starting.”
In a statement posted on the St. Ann Neighbourhood Watch Facebook page, authorities said that the detective seen in the video had broken the window because the passenger had “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 statement added. “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.'”
Jimenez said the unnamed detective “didn’t violently put (the suspect) down. He didn’t punch him, he didn’t kick him, he didn’t spit on him, he didn’t stomp on him. I appreciate whoever videotaped this because it cleared our officer.” The internal affairs office watched the video, Jimenez told The Post-Dispatch, and the unnamed officer was cleared.
The Post-Dispatch reported that the incident began when the car in question was chased by St. Ann police, after it failed to stop for authorities in a different district. Jimenez told the newspaper that the car also side-swiped a tractor-trailer and fled the scene before eventually crashing into a guardrail.
Jimenez said that even though the woman who was driving and another man in the backseat were quickly arrested, the man in the passenger seat refused to comply with officers.
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