Witnesses are accusing a St. Louis police officer of starting a fight with a regular at a local gas station and beating the man in the face before other officers took him away in handcuffs Thursday.
A clerk at the gas station in the Jeff Vander Lou neighborhood told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he was appalled at the officer’s actions but would not give his name out of fear of retribution.
“I am all for the police, they have a very dangerous job,” he told the newspaper. “But this man should not be the police.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch said it is not naming the officer because he has not been charged with a crime.
Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner has in recent months, charged almost a dozen officers with crimes, including assaults and stealing, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Bryan Boyle told the daily newspaper in the recent incident, he was chatting casually with the officer when Boyle reached past the cop to get the chicken and lemonade Boyle had purchased.
The cop was in plain clothes but wearing his duty belt at the time, the newspaper reported.
“He tells me I’m in his personal space, but I was like, ‘How am I in your personal space when the cashier is serving me?’” Boyle told the Post-Dispatch. “The next thing I know, he shoved me, pulled out his Taser and put it on the counter and starts telling me to put my hands behind my back, and he just starts beating me in my face with his handcuffs.”
Surveillance video the store has been unwilling to release publicly showed Boyle, who is bigger than the officer, trying to block his face, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“If I would have fought back, he would have said he was in fear for his life and he could have killed me,” Boyle told the newspaper. “I was just trying to ask him, ‘What did I do to you?’ But something told me, ‘Do not swing back,’ because I would have been dead and wouldn’t nobody have known what happened.”
The cop called for backup, and by the time other officers arrive to the store at 3868 Martin Luther King Drive, Boyle had overpowered the cop and was holding him on the ground with his knee on his back, he told the newspaper.
“When I heard all of the police officers come in, I hurried up and gave them my arms,” Boyle said. “I just wanted to know why I was under arrest.”
Boyle, who told the newspaper he wanted to be a cop, said that interaction changed his mind and it was especially emotional because the officer is Black.
“For my own brother to not accept me the way he didn’t accept me,” Boyle told the newspaper. “I’m lost.”
He was handcuffed and taken to the hospital to treat cuts to his face, but he has not been charged, the Post-Dispatch reported.