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St. Paul investigates apparent police brutality shown on YouTube video

A YouTube video apparently showing St. Paul police kicking an unarmed, unresisting suspect and smashing the suspect’s head into a police car has led to a police investigation.

The video was taken from across the street, where several people watched the incident. One officer is seen kicking the man in the chest. The man’s hair is pulled and two officers slam his head onto the hood of a police car.

The man, identified as Eric Hightower, was wanted by police for allegedly threatening to kill someone. Police found him Tuesday at 6 p.m. near Woodbridge and Milford streets, in the Rice Street area.

Mayor Chris Coleman said in a statement:

“The video of a St. Paul Police officer striking a suspect raises serious questions about the conduct of the officer. I spoke to Police Chief Tom Smith and he has begun a full investigation.

“I grew up in St. Paul having full confidence in the St. Paul Police Department. I have high expectations for the department and its employees. We will fully investigate and take appropriate action.”

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 08/29/2012 - 09:45 pm.

    This video is conclusive.

    Citizens of St. Paul should expect to see both of the first responding officers relieved of their jobs. There is simply no place in a civilized society for uniformed thugs assaulting citizens under color of authority.

    I will go further to remind readers that it is common practice for police officers to manufacture charges out of thin air in an attempt to justify their own criminal actions….in other words, I wouldn’t believe these cops if they said water was wet.

  2. Submitted by Beryl John-Knudson on 08/30/2012 - 06:27 am.

    What are we losing here, again?

    Justice:? What is necessary to establish security? When is overt violence justified? Who loses here in the total picture? Who feels more secure in the process?

    A certain sadness rises, seeing how we slowly do pick up the broken pieces again; shades of past brutalities…reminding one of St Paul, four years ago?

    Only a wee-small cameo version now? Then, what next?

    One incident; then another maybe…reminding this reader, again, of past, ugly police brutalities; like a slice from the 2008 Republican Convention St Paul? Amy Goodman and so many others tell the story?

    I suppose one should be grateful for small discrepancies…no hob-nailed jack boots, I hope.

    And so the sun rises on another day in st Paul…

  3. Submitted by David couper on 08/30/2012 - 11:16 am.

    Improving Police

    This, of course, is not only improper but also illegal — how does this happen? What’s going on here between the police and community? How do you prevent these trust-destroying events from happening? For insight and direction on this and other important police improvement issues, take a look at “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police” (Amazon). And my blog is called “improvingpolice” at WordPress where other current police improvement issues are discussed. Good luck and may we all experience not just good but great policing! Great policing is accomplished by police who are well-trained and led, restrained in their use of force, honest, and courteous to every citizen.

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