FLORISSANT, Mo. (KMOV.com) – Florissant Police Chief Timothy Fagan on Wednesday announced the termination of an officer involved in a now-viral violent arrest that was caught on camera.
“I got up and peeked through the windows and seen the police had a man faced down in my yard, handcuffed,” the homeowner said.
Detective Joshua Smith’s firing comes more than a week after doorbell video showed the officer in an unmarked police vehicle strike an unarmed man and then taking him to the ground.
The incident took place on Tuesday, June 2, but Fagan said he found out about it days later, on Saturday. Fagan said three men were chased because the car they were in matched the description of a vehicle wanted for a shots fired call coming out of Ferguson.
Protesters gathered around the Florissant Police Department Sunday night demanding a detective be fired after he hit a man with his car earlier in the week.
The man hit by the patrol car suffered an ankle injury and was arrested by Florissant Police Department and is facing charges of resisting arrest.
While Smith was identified and fired, the other officers in the car remain on leave. Fagan said he does not believe those officers did anything wrong, but is continuing to investigate.
[Read: Florissant police officer suspended after video shows him hitting man with unmarked patrol car]
News 4 has learned Smith has been with the force for nine years and court records reveal he has been sued twice.
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 claimed the officer rammed his vehicle with his patrol car before he was pulled out and assaulted. That case is still pending.
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. That case was dismissed.
“I’ve seen the video that you’ve seen. It’s just a small seconds of what was probably a much longer time period. What I saw, is shocking and disturbing,” Lohmar said.
Meanwhile a criminal investigation into the this case continues, which is being led by St. Charles Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar, due to a conflict of interest in St. Louis County. Wesley Bell’s spokesperson’s son, a Florissant officer, was in the backseat of the car that struck the suspect.
Lohmar on Monday called the video “shocking and disturbing.”
A Florissant police detective was suspended with pay after video emerged of him hitting a suspect with his police vehicle on June 2 in a Dellwood neighborhood.
Protesters have marched in front of the Florissant Police Department for several days following the surfacing of the video.
“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.
Fagan said the protests had no impact on the timing of the decision to announce the firing.
“I would say that if I was going to cave to protesters, first and foremost I would have done it on day one because obviously the outcry was pretty loud and the outcry has been loud,” Fagan said. “Since I am comfortable with what the police department has done, I feel like we made right choice for the men and woman of this department and also the community. We looked and examined this incident. We wanted to make sure we were right for their sake and the community.”
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