DE SOTO, Mo. (KTVI) — A Missouri police chief has condemned the use of force by officers caught on a recently released police surveillance video.
The three officers in the video have been fired. All had been with the department for less than two years, according to De Soto Police Chief Jeff McCreary.
McCreary said prosecutors would now likely dismiss charges in every active case in which these officers were involved in booking or arresting the suspect.
“It was very disappointing to see what was going on in that video,” McCreary said.
It all happened in a span of nine minutes as officers struggled with an unruly white male suspect arrested on Sept. 30 in a domestic assault. The suspect was accused of beating his uncle, according to the police video.
In the video, police can be seen trying three times to get the suspect to take a booking photo, with the suspect resisting each time.
“Do you want to get your (rear end) beat?” a female officer said to the suspect at least twice in the video.
Officers were also seen pulling his hair, grabbing him by the throat to move him and forcing him down onto a bench by his head and neck. Another officer knees the suspect in the groin.
Two officers then take him to the ground and forcefully remove his shoes and belt — anything that may pose a threat to himself or the officers — something McCreary said should have happened first.
“Our process is to take that off of them, get them in the cell, let them calm down,” McCreary said. “This is over a picture (booking photo). That’s not acceptable.”
Former officers James Daly and Bethany Zarcone have been charged with third-degree felony assault.
Daly had been relieved of his duties early in November in another matter, the chief said. Photos surfaced on social media of an allegedly racist Halloween display at Daly’s home in October 2019.
Both Daly and Zarcone are due in court next month.
Former officer Allayna Campbell has been charged with misdemeanor evidence tampering, accused of deleting photos from the police computer, photos that may have captured evidence of the assault.
McCreary said the video is not indicative of the work of the remaining 15 officers on the force now scrambling to cover all shifts.
“They know the power of what you see in that video. They’re very aware of how this affects this department, which is in a rebuild mode,” McCreary said. “It tears us back down. We have a lot of really good officers here. It does pain them, just as much me, because it affects us all.”
McCreary said reforms the department has put into place in his more than two years brought this case to light, including a new use of force review policy.
New surveillance cameras were also installed inside the department.