Congratulations, St. Louis police, you earn the distinct honor of winning the first viral police abuse video of 2011.
And it appears that St. Louis police already tried to get Youtube to remove the video because it did remove it, according to the Riverfront Times.
YouTube has removed the video stating it violates the company’s policy of showing “shocking and disgusting content.”
Knowing Youtube has a pretty lenient eye towards shocking videos, I have no doubt St. Louis police tried to muscle Youtube into removing the video.
Regardless, it wasn’t long until somebody else uploaded the video. I recommend downloading the video if you can just in case they remove this one.
The incident took place outside a St. Louis gas station in the early morning of New Year’s Day.
The video shows a cop pulling a man from a car and beating him continuously with a baton, then pepper spraying him before leading him away in handcuffs.
The man who recorded the incident was sitting inside a car and was not part of the suspect’s party.
However, he tells KTVI Fox 2 that police used excessive force:
He says the man told the officer to shut up and that sparked the entire episode. “I have to say police used excessive force in this definitely. It was unnecessary, the kid never moved whenever he hit the ground so there was no reason for him to get hit that many times or pepper sprayed,” said the man who shot the cell phone video.
Meanwhile, the owner of the gas station – who did not even witness the incident – said the force was justified because the suspect was drunk and grabbing onto the cop’s ankles as he was getting beaten down.
It should be noted that gas station owner Joel Platke had hired the officer to work security that night.
The video was shot from inside another car, so we really can’t see if the suspect is grabbing onto the cop’s ankles, but the cop is not pulling his ankles away as you think he would if the guy was grabbing onto his ankles.
St. Louis police released the following statement:
“We were first made aware of the video this morning and while all of the circumstances of the incident are not known, what is seen on the video is extremely disturbing to us. Force is to be used only when absolutely necessary and this department takes the use of force very seriously. No one has a filed a complaint regarding this incident, however the department is launching an Internal Affairs investigation immediately and we would urge those involved in the incident to please come forward and relay their eyewitness accounts to the Internal Affairs investigators. We are also making efforts to identify the officer involved who, once identified, will immediately be assigned to administrative duty pending the results of the investigation.”