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St. Louis officer charged with theft; more than 10 city officers now facing charges [UPDATE]

The latest charges against an SLMPD officer mean at least 11 cops from the department have been charged with a crime in the last 6 months

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ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A  former St. Louis police officer is accused of stealing from a woman who was being booked into jail.

Thomas Harger is facing charges Friday for reportedly stealing a suspect’s cell phone.

Harger is charged with misdemeanor theft.

Thomas Harger

Prosecutors say Harger was inside the South Patrol police station on January 21, 2019 when he took the phone from a woman who had been arrested.

Harger was not the arresting officer. Prosecutors say he allegedly saw the cell phone on a counter, placed a piece of paper on top of it and then took it.

The incident was captured on surveillance video and video showed Harger with the phone in different areas of the south patrol police station. It is not clear what allegedly motivated Harger to take the phone.

Since the theft, the victim's phone has been turned off and thus cannot be located.

Harger had been with the department since September 2016. He was issued a summons to appear in court.

He was no longer with the department as of February 16.

[UPDATE May 14, 2019, 2 P.M.]

Harger pleaded guilty to stealing the phone and received six months unsupervised probation. He was also ordered to pay $100 in restitution and $118.50 in court fees.  

11 OFFICERS CHARGED IN LESS THAN A YEAR

Harger is one of 11 St. Louis Metropolitan police officers to face charges in the last six months.

Four officers are facing federal charges related to an incident in which an undercover officer was reportedly beaten and badly injured by fellow cops during the protests following the Jason Stockley verdict.

Officers Dustin Boone, Bailey Colletta, Randy Hays, and Christopher Myers were indicted. Prosecutors say all four officers were working for the department’s Civil Disobedience Team on September 17, 2017, tasked with controlling the crowd as needed.

The indictment says Boone, Hays, and Myers threw L.H. to the ground and then kicked and struck him while L.H. was compliant and not posing a physical threat to anyone.

Officer Kenneth Grooms is also facing federal charges in a separate incident in which he allegedly violated a suspect’s constitutional rights.

On May 5, 2018, Grooms reportedly violated the rights of a suspect protecting them from unreasonable seizure. The alleged crime is a misdemeanor, but Grooms faces up to a year in jail and a $100,000 fine.

KILLING OF FELLOW OFFICER

Officer Nathaniel Hendren was charged with involuntary manslaughter in January after he reportedly shot and killed fellow officer Katlyn Alix in his apartment while he was on duty.

Hendren and another officer were outside their assigned districts during the incident, and Alix, off duty at the time, was with them in the apartment.

During a game described by investigators as being similar to Russian Roulette, Hendren reportedly shot and killed Alix.

Court documents say Hendren and Alix were “consuming alcohol beverages and playing with their off-duty weapons.”

Hendren later reportedly told investigators he and Alix were in love and planning to move in together.

Court documents: Hendren was 'in love' with Officer Alix, planning on moving in together

OTHER CHARGES

In January, officers Joseph Schmitt and William Olsten were charged by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner after a man was shot outside a bar.

Prosecutors said the officers were outside of Bomber O'Brien's Sports Bar on Beck Avenue in the Tower Grove South neighborhood around 1:30 a.m. on April 27, 2018 when they noticed a man, identified as S.D. in charging documents, sitting in a van.

They reportedly did not announce themselves as police officers and when they entered the van, the man drew his gun in self defense.

Prosecutors say he tried to leave the scene by getting back in the van but was grabbed by Olsten and slammed to the ground, prosecutors allege. At that time, his gun fired, wounding Olsten in the hand and upper arm.

As the man was trying to get away, Schmitt allegedly followed him and shot him multiple times, from behind, striking him in the arms and legs.

Both officers face charges of assault and armed criminal action.

Officer Lori Wozniak was charged with fourth-degree assault after two suspects were injured while she was transporting them in October of 2018.

The two people in Wozniak’s patrol car had been taken into custody following a disturbance call. Before Wozniak transported them, they reportedly said rude things about her, which she overheard.

She reportedly told her supervisor she’d like to "Take them to Riverview and 270 and drop them off and make them walk home."

Wozniak went on to say she was going to stop hard at every stop sign between the scene and the station.

During the drive she slammed on the brakes of her cruiser, causing both victims to slide forward on the metal benches of the cruiser. One of them ended up with a cut above his eye.

Officer Adam Feaman was charged in August with assault after reportedly breaking a man's jaw with his flashlight. 

According to the lawsuit filed by the victim, Jamal White, the incident started with a call to police about a car causing a noise disturbance. White’s car was parked at his home when police arrived to the scene of the call. Police started towing the vehicle when White came out of his home to ask why.

In video captured by a bystander, White takes blows to the face and the back of the head from a flashlight.

According to his attorney White's jaw was wired shut for two months. Feaman was suspended and faces second degree assault and armed criminal action charges. 

Copyright 2019 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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