Gardner’s office says video disputes claims man tried carjacking St. Louis City officers
Warning: Video includes explicit language
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office (CAO) released videos Tuesday they say discount prior claims that a 27-year-old man tried to carjack two St. Louis City officers.
The incident happened near the intersection of Chouteau Ave and Tucker Blvd, just after 3 a.m. on March 19. Authorities said the two officers were on their way to a call for shots fired near Chouteau and 7th when 27-year-old Allen Robinson stepped into an eastbound lane of Chouteau, blocking the fully-marked squad car. Police told News 4 Robinson then walked to the passenger side of the car and pointed a gun at the officers, in an attempt to carjack them. The officers said they were able to maneuver to safety while the suspect realized he was carjacking officers in a marked squad car. The suspect then ran off but was later taken into custody. He was later found with an unloaded gun, according to police.
During a press conference Tuesday, the CAO’s office showed body worn camera footage from that night from one of the officers who was in the squad car, which was provided to prosecutors on March 24, days after repeatedly asking police for this footage as well as video from a business surveillance camera nearby. They say no body camera videos were actually turned on and recording when the alleged incident happened. The video shared with News 4 starts off only after additional units have arrived on scene and the suspect is being apprehended. Officers were also driving a newer police unit that still did not have a dash camera installed.
In the video, you hear the officer multiple times saying something along the lines of, “He literally ran up to my car. He didn’t know it was a police car. He ran up to my car and put it right up Ricky’s window.”
Prosecutors did not provide names for the officers involved in the incident.
Later on in the video, the officer speaking in the video asks the other officer if his body camera is turned off and the officer says yes. However, the other officer’s video remains on for four hours, according to prosecutors. They only shared clips of the video with news outlets and not the full four hour video.
The officer continued to tell his version of events at the station. The chief warrant officer says a supervising lieutenant seems to be coaching him on what to say in his report.
Police received surveillance video from a nearby business on March 25. According to the business’s security manager, who provided the video to CAO attorneys, no officer had contacted them about getting that surveillance video. Prosecutors say what they see in the footage seems to contradict the initial account.
A man is seen walking west on Chouteau Ave near the bus stop. He appears to walk into the street, just before a marked police truck comes up in front of him. He goes to the left of the truck. You don’t see him for a few seconds as as the truck blocks him from view. Then, he appears again and keeps walking at the same pace crossing another street. Officers keep driving east, but shortly after, drive back to the same area.
“All I can determine from this video and determine with confidence, is that he walks into the street prior to the police officers vehicle getting there. He appears to be wanting to cross the street, but he stops due to the officer’s vehicle coming up upon him,” said Hinckley. “He takes a step back, he keeps his hands by his side, and then he moves to the left side, or the passenger side of the vehicle walking, never increasing or decreasing his pace. His hands appear to remain by his side and walking by.”
The CAO’s office said the video shed light on what they believe really happened.
“If not for police body worn cameras, and business security camera footage, the truth of this matter would’ve never seen the light of day,” said Redditt Hudson, with the Circuit Attorney’s Office. “What our investigation revealed is a serious breach of trust in our city’s criminal justice system.”
“This is the nail in the coffin,” Hinckley said describing the contents of the video. “This case has been dismissed. And for good reason. I hope to never see something like this enter the Circuit Attorney’s warrant office ever again.”
When asked if prosecutors believed officers lied about what happened that night, Hinckley said, “That is a safe assumption, I think that’s a safe assumption in some matters of this, yes.”
In late March, the CAO’s office only charged Robinson with unlawful use of a weapon, not anything pertaining to an attempted carjacking. All charges have been dismissed as of Tuesday. According to St. Louis police, Robinson is being held at the Jefferson County jail on unrelated charges.
No charges have been filed yet regarding the officers who, “under the direction of a supervising Lieutenant, deliberately misrepresented the facts of a case.” When asked if any of the officer’s involved were on Kim Gardner’s exclusion list, prosecutors say this issue is still, “under investigation.”
“And at this point I would say everything is on the table, and we will have to see where that investigation leads,” said Hudson.
News 4 reached out to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department on the incident. They released the following statement:
The St. Louis Police Officers’ Association also released a statement:
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