St. Louis has had a reputation for being one of the most dangerous cities in the USA over the last several years. A number of high profile incidents of police violence and shootings in the city’s recent history have caused widespread protests. Violence within these protests is an indicator of just how tense relations between the public and law enforcement in St. Louis have become.
Undercover cop beaten by other police officers
A scandal in St. Louis involved a number of officers joking about how much fun it would be to beat up protesters. Unfortunately for them, they also ended up injuring an undercover police officer who was among the protesters during their spree of misconduct.
Text messages uncovered from one officer revealed the mind state of a man who thought being able to beat people during an upcoming protest after the acquittal of a police officer was “gonna be a lot of fun.” This man along with two other officers brutally beat a black protester two days after the message was sent with riot batons even when the victim followed their instructions.
The victim turned out to be a 22 year veteran of the St. Louis Police force. He sustained injuries to his lip, tailbone, and back, which caused him to not be able to eat and lose several pounds in the days after the beating. He also missed a considerable amount of time from work as a result of the attack. Four police officers were eventually indicted and charged by a federal grand jury based on their actions during the protest. The charges included deprivation of constitutional rights, conspiring to obstruct justice, and destruction of evidence. Prosecutors also released other text messages sent by the officers involved, which included statements about how their acts of violence “feel good,” along with other relevant information about how they tried to discourage the victim from reporting the incident and destroyed his cellphone afterwards.
Local activists are concerned that the St. Louis Police have a history of trying to violently disrupt protests in recent years. There were also frustrations over the fact that other protesters who have been mistreated have not received the same level of justice as the victim in this case, possibly because he was a police officer.
What can a protester do to get help?
Whether the victim was an undercover police officer or not actually does not make much of a difference from a legal standpoint. While police are on duty they are only allowed to use force in limited situations, and any deviations from relevant procedures that regulate police behavior can be grounds for a lawsuit.
Most of these kinds of situations can be handled as excessive use of force cases, especially if severe injuries occur. The case against the police is even stronger if a person is harassed while not doing anything illegal. The are relevant federal civil rights laws that prevent any person from being injured or arrested because of engagement in any constitutionally protected activities such as protesting. A civil lawsuit can give argue for an amount of compensation that is relative to the level of harm a victim has suffered because of police misconduct.
Get help after an altercation with the police
If you have been injured during a protest or mistreated by the police in any other way, there are local lawyers in St. Louis who can speak with you. These attorneys are licensed in the state of Missouri and they specialize in lawsuits regarding police brutality incidents.