Washington: The St. Ann Police Department in Missouri came under scrutiny on Wednesday after a video posted online showed one of its officers aggressively apprehending a man during a traffic stop.
The video showed the man sitting in the front passenger seat of a sedan with the window rolled up and his hands in the air for at least 10 seconds, while the police officer, dressed in civilian clothes, repeatedly bashed the car window with his elbow and dragged the passenger out through the opening and onto the ground, where the uniformed officer handcuffed him, The Washington Post reported.
Authorities, as of now, have not been able to identify the man who is seen shielding himself from the glass and saying “I can’t”.
However, it is not clear in the video whether the man who was apprehended had committed a crime.
Authorities wrote in a Facebook post on the St. Ann Neighborhood Watch page that “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’ [said].”
“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 said.
According to the state media, the incident began 16 miles away from the scene when authorities in St. Peters, Missouri, discovered there was a warrant associated with the sedan and attempted to pull it over. The car did not stop, police said.
St. Peters authorities did not pursue the vehicle but did alert other municipalities. St. Ann police attempted to deploy road spikes in order to stop the sedan, state media reported.
“One of the passengers of the car refused to put his hands up, unlock the door, or open the window,” authorities said in the statement on Facebook.
“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,” it added.
Meanwhile, a bystander and witness to the incident, identified as Lisa Jones Watson, posted the video to Facebook and said she watched the incident happen. She wrote that the passenger “tried to surrender peacefully.”
“I know what we saw and it did not seem justified to me to drag him through the broken glass the way they did. He was a passenger, not the driver,” Watson said.
“Look at the beginning of the 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,” she added.
Authorities did not report any injuries caused either to the police officers or civilians during the incident.