FLORISSANT, Mo. (KMOV.com) – A Florissant police detective was suspended with pay after video emerged showing him hitting a man with his police vehicle on June 2 in a Dellwood neighborhood.
There are calls for the officer to be fired.
“The guy flew from one side of the driveway to the other side of the driveway, I thought it was kind of crazy, I don’t understand why a cop would go to that extent, to hit somebody with their car,” said Richard Mest, a Dellwood resident.
News 4 has learned the officer has been with the force for nine years and court records reveal he has been sued twice.
READ: Lohmar discusses ‘shocking and disturbing’ Florissant video he’s been tasked with investigating
In 2017, he was sued by a man who said the detective, along with other officers, used excessive force during a traffic stop. The man claims the officer rammed his vehicle with his patrol car before he was pulled out and assaulted by the officer.
In 2013, the family of a Florissant man sued the officer and the department, claiming the officer shot and killed their son. Court documents assert the department tried covering up the shooting as a suicide.
“The brazenness and boldness you have, even though we’re in a heated climate with everything that’s going on, you would think you would still go out there thinking that cameras are not going to be on you,” said Henry Logan, a protest organizer.
Florissant police said since the video of the June 2 incident surfaced, three employees including the officer have been suspended with pay.
St. Louis County police said the case is being reviewed by the Bureau of Crimes Against Persons.
Tuesday, protesters also marched from the Florissant Police Department to Florissant Mayor Tim Lowery’s home demanding the officer be charged. Lowery was the police chief before becoming mayor, and said while he wants to hear from protesters, he is asking for patience.
“It was just kind of shocking they showed up at my home,” he said. “Which obviously was pretty upsetting to me and my wife, but I do think we have an understanding, that people are upset and people want answers and we are trying to get them the answers they want.”
Protesters are demanding the immediate firing of the detective, but Lowery said he learned of the incident only a few days ago. He also said an outside agency should handle the investigation.
“We need the investigation for the department. I think the community needs an investigation and I think it’s the right thing to do to have an outside agency come in and look at it,” he said. “We have to be careful not to rush to judgement and we have all the facts laid out on the table.”
While Lowery said he welcomes discussion with any member of the community, he remains staunchly against the idea of defunding police departments.
[RELATED: What does ‘defunding the police’ mean?]
“I cannot imagine going to bed at night without the police department patrolling our streets, watching out for our children, watching out for our stores,” he said. “I cannot imagine us having a community without police.”