Residents continue to call for transparency after only some of St. Louis officer involved shooting video is released

Only parts of dashcam video and dispatcher audio was released, both city officers’ body cameras were turned off.
Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 5:12 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - New dashcam video shows the moments leading up to a deadly confrontation in Ferguson. It ended with a man dead and two St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officers shot and injured. The release of this footage is a part of a big push for transparency, however, the raw footage wasn’t released.

The footage is from January 26, 2022 when two city police officers respond to a call of suspicious people in a white Toyota 4Runner. What transpires after, that’s shown mostly on video, is intense and turned into a multiple jurisdiction pursuit. Some residents said, the footage should’ve been released much sooner.

“In my opinion people were afraid to even oppose the police or even question the police about anything,” Mildred Klines said.

Klines has been a Ferguson resident for nearly four decades. She’s been a community activist since 2014.

“A lot of things changed after Michael Brown was killed,” Klines said.

It was an officer involved shooting that shook the region with protests erupting in Ferguson for weeks. Klines said, the killing of Brown, was the turning point.

“One of the things we really fought for was body cameras, and the transparency of releasing that footage soon, and that they would have their cameras on at all times,” Klines explained.

Residents took action by forming committees in tandem with area government leaders and said they were pushing for transparency. Nearly six years later, it’s coming to fruition.

Wednesday afternoon, St. Louis County Police released parts of dash camera footage from a city-lead police chase on January 26, 2022. County Police released parts of the dispatch call too. It all started around 1p.m. when two city officers were dispatched to check out a report of suspicious people in a white Toyota 4Runner in North City. As soon as the officers got there, the 4Runner began speeding off. Officers chased the suspect’s car for miles, eventually into North County, then into Ferguson.

“Twenty-six, priority. We’re in pursuit of a homicide vehicle. John-Edward-Seven-Union-Three-Henry. It was involved in a homicide last night on Natural Bridge,” one officer called to dispatch.

The erratic driver crossed through lanes, cut several cars off, and even tried to lose police by going off the road.

“He’s back on the road, he’s back on the road. Left tire is down. We’re passing Solway, still on West Florissant,” the officer said.

Less than a minute later, dashcam footage shows the 4Runner’s diver losing control of the car. The four suspects get out of the car and start running. Police chase them behind homes in a neighborhood. Several seconds later, you hear multiple gun shots.

“Shots fired! Shots fired! I’m shot! I’m shot!,” one officer said.

Two city police officers were shot in the exchange. One of them shot and killed one of the runaway suspects. Both officers are recovering. However, it’s video like this one, that residents said they want to see more often.

“For me, it shows transparency. You know, you can trust what you see. I feel like having body cameras and releasing footage is definitely progress, but there’s more to be done,” Klines said.

Klines said the cameras are only helpful if departments are releasing both the video and audio, then letting the public make the decision for themselves.

“[There] has to be better laws. Has to be within 24-48 hours, and the law about you have to have your body camera on all the time unless you’re in the restroom and things of that nature. But other than that, there should not be an excuse and there should be consequences,” Klines said.

Wednesday evening, News 4 learned the two city officers had their personal body cameras turned off. SLMPD said they’re letting County Police finish its external investigation, then SLMPD will address why the officers had their cameras off and if they violated department policy.