Monday, January 30, 2006

St. Louis Suburb Maplewood Police Accused of Beating Suspect

The St. Louis Fox affiliate KTVI here in STL caught on video what appears to be extreme and excessive force by Maplewood police. The online video is available per KSDK however (?) here:



The Missouri State Highway Patrol will determine if four police officers stepped over the line in punching and kicking a suspect on Monday. The alleged altercation followed a police chase that began in the St. Louis suburb Maplewood and ended in the city of St. Louis. Live television showed much of the chase, and the beating of the suspect. It was not clear how much resistance the man was providing. The suspect is identified as 33-year-old Edmond Burns, who was hospitalized. Three of the officers are from the Maplewood department. One was from St. Louis. Their names were not released. Authorities say the Highway Patrol will investigate. Maplewood Police Chief James White cautioned against jumping to conclusions based upon the video.

The video does not look good in terms of police actions. Maplewood Police Chief James White "cautioned against jumping to conclusions based on the video", and I understand that circumstances could have been in play that the video does not capture. That said the investigation should be done swiftly and quickly provide the facts to the public. Without information that is not obvious on the video it looks like extreme and excessive force. That can not be allowed and I will take a strong stand against that. Four police officers can take control of a suspect without beating them, and let the courts then do their job of deciding the degree of punishment. Punishment can not be administered at the point of arrest.

The job of a police officer is often thankless and requires the officer to put themselves in harms way for not a great deal of money. I respect our police officers greatly and appreciate all they do for us. That said the video looks like a beating with two officers on top of the man, a third officer onsite and available and the fourth applying what appears to be a beating, that the other join in on. If the suspect did not have a weapon that was putting the officers in danger, I don't see why the force applied was required. Again, the whole story needs to be provided quickly on why this happened.

Channel 5 KSDK just did a story on another person who has come forward about what he describes as a "beating" by the Maplewood police department. Like I said, this needs to be investigated quickly and fully......................