Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Deputy Is on Trial in Meth Bust; St. Charles County Officer Is Charged with Burglary, Property Damage and Assault in 2009 Case; PUBLIC SAFETY

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Deputy Is on Trial in Meth Bust; St. Charles County Officer Is Charged with Burglary, Property Damage and Assault in 2009 Case; PUBLIC SAFETY

Article excerpt

MONTGOMERY CITY, MO. - Jurors heard testimony Monday in the trial of a St. Charles County sheriff's deputy accused of breaking the law during the arrest of a wanted methamphetamine cook.

Christopher E. Hunt, 38, is charged with burglary - a felony - and misdemeanor counts of property damage, assault and making a false police report.

Hunt is one of four St. Charles County police officers who was involved in the raid on Feb. 5, 2009, at a trailer in Middleton, Mo., in Montgomery County.

Hunt and three other members of the St. Charles County Regional Drug Task Force were assisting members of the East Central Drug Task Force - which serves Warren, Audrain and Montgomery counties - with the arrest of Phillip Alberternst.

The other three St. Charles County officers also are charged with misdemeanor counts of assault and making a false report. They are due to stand trial on Sept. 11.

During opening statements in Circuit Judge Keith M. Sutherland's courtroom, Prosecutor Nicole Volkert told the 10 men and two women jurors that Hunt was not working the night of the bust and that he showed up because he had a grudge against Alberternst.

She said other members of the drug task force had agreed to try a consensual search because they didn't have a search warrant, but when Hunt showed up later at the scene, he kicked in a porch door before "beating a helpless naked man."

Pointing to Hunt, Volkert said: "He doesn't deserve to be treated differently than any other criminal just because he has a badge."

Defense Attorney Joseph McCulloch painted a different picture, saying that Hunt had been asked to come to the scene by other detectives and that when he arrived he saw meth-making materials on the porch. He also saw Alberternst look out a window.

McCulloch said that Alberternst was wanted for two warrants - one for child endangerment and another for failing to show up for a sentencing after pleading guilty to meth charges.

He said Hunt used force during the arrest, but only because Alberternst resisted. …

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