(KMOV) – To the untrained eye, a first viewing of the video of a local police officer beating a man with a baton in south St. Louis gives the impression that the officer is over the line, using excessive force.
But understanding the context and using a trained eye to decode what’s seen can shed a lot of light on the video.
News 4’s Russell Kinsaul watched the video with former Los Angeles police officer and current UMSL professor of criminology David Klinger.
Witnesses say you can’t see in the video that the man wrapped his arms around the officer’s legs and wouldn’t let go. Klinger says the officer can’t risk falling.
"Let's say that this is an individual who is trying to decoy me, he's going to grab my leg and then he's going to quickly try to spring up and disarm me,” says Klinger. “These things happen so quickly, people who haven't been there don't know how quickly they can happen."
Witnesses say that the officer struck the man on the hands and arms, not on his head.
The video does not show everything that happened that night.
Police conducted more interviews Wednesday to determine if the officer did indeed use excessive force.