Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Police Investigating Use of Taser on Two Downtown Protesters

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Police Investigating Use of Taser on Two Downtown Protesters

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * An officer's use of a Taser in arresting two people in an anti-police-brutality demonstration will be investigated for compliance with policies, the police department said Monday.

Kristine Hendrix, 34, of University City, posted a cellphone video online which shows her and a man walking on a sidewalk on Washington Avenue downtown Friday night, seconds before a male officer uses a Taser to subdue both.

They and six others were arrested on suspicion of impeding traffic by walking in the street. She and the man also were accused of resisting arrest.

The video shows the officer appear in front of them. The male suspect appears to dart left, then right before the officer fires a Taser. The rest of the video is mostly a black screen, but Hendrix's screams and the clicking of the Taser can he heard, along with an officer's repeated command: "Put your hands behind your back." She tells him she can't because it hurts, and he uses the Taser again.

Hendrix, a member of the University City School Board, also posted pictures on her Twitter account, @prissikrissi3, of two marks on her hand she said were caused by the Taser. She said she also had marks on her breast.

The video drew critical response from at least two officials: Alderman Antonio French and state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D- University City.

On Twitter, French called for an aldermanic public safety committee hearing.

Chappelle-Nadal said Hendrix was "videotaping terrorism."

"She has had a small voice prior to the incident, and I hope she has a bullhorn now that she has had an experience she can talk about," Chappelle-Nadal said.

Police Chief Sam Dotson declined an interview request Monday, saying the incident is under investigation. He noted in an interview Sunday with Fox 2 News that the bicycle patrol not officers in riot gear handled the situation in a response he called "very appropriate and very measured."

Dotson also told Fox 2, "The public has a tremendous amount of tolerance, but at some point, when people's lives are put at risk, and that night the motoring public and protesters' lives were put at risk, I think the public expects their police department to do something. …

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