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Video shows cop smash window, drag man who was shown ‘utmost respect,’ MO police say

If you witness a crime, here’s what to do

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity. (Nicole L. Cvetnic / McClatchy)
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Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity. (Nicole L. Cvetnic / McClatchy)

A Missouri police chief says he is thankful that someone was recording when a detective smashed a car window with his bare arm and pulled a passenger through the opening, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

That’s because — despite all the rage on social media — the video actually shows the officer acting professionally, St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez said, according to the newspaper.

The video posted to Facebook by Derk Brown on Tuesday shows a uniformed cop trying to talk to the man in the car’s front passenger seat before the detective took over.

The detective then smashed the window with his forearm as glass shards flew, the video shows. The passenger ducked and tried to cover his face.

Seconds later, the detective grabbed the man by his hooded sweater and pulled him through the window opening and onto the ground, the video shows. The man was then cuffed, and another passenger came out of the car.

Throughout the video, a bystander was yelling “That’s abuse!” The video had been seen over 273,000 times as of Thursday morning and had thousands of comments, many of which criticize the way police handled the incident.

Police say what they did was necessary, though.

St. Ann police say the car led officers on a chase starting in St. Peters on Tuesday afternoon, KMOV reported. The chase started after St. Peters tried to stop the driver for a traffic violation — and “there was a warrant associated with license plate,” the station reported.

The car finally came to a stop in St. Ann, according to a post from authorities in the St. Ann Neighborhood Watch group.

A Raleigh video about what motorists should expect when stopped says you should answer all questions from an officer. But the state's driver's license handbook points out you are not legally required to answer questions after identifying yourself.

While stopped, “one of the passengers of the car refused to put his hands up, unlock the door, or open the window,” the post says. “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.”

But police say the video doesn’t show what happened right before.

“Moments before the videotape began recording, Jimenez said, the man sitting in the front passenger seat had his hands below the seat,” the Post-Dispatch reported. “Jimenez said the man didn’t raise his hands up until several seconds later.”

During that time, he was “trying to hide crack pipes underneath the seat,” Jimenez said, according to the newspaper.

“At no point was the passenger kicked, punched, or mistreated in any way,” the post in the neighborhood watch group says. “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.’ 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 police major has reviewed the video “multiple times and immediately cleared our officer of any wrongdoing,” Jimenez said, according to the Post-Dispatch.

“I thank the actual person who took the video because it clearly does not show our officers kicking or stomping them, abusing them, spitting on them in any way,” Jimenez said in a video recorded by KTVI. “We treated that suspect with the utmost respect.”

Police said that no officer, civilian or people in the “suspect’s vehicle” were hurt, according to the post in the neighborhood watch group.

“Police did not release the names of the man or two others in the car who were also arrested,” the Post-Dispatch reported. “Police were seeking charges Wednesday.”

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