The video was released as a result of a lawsuit Cortez Bufford, 18, has filed against St. Louis Police Department. The video shows around seven cops dragging the suspect from a car onto the ground, beating him and kicking him while he resisted arrest.
The video also shows Officer Nathaniel Burkemper arguing with Buford before dragging out of the car, then several police officers rushing in and repeatedly shocking him with a taser.
After the suspect was handcuffed, officers attempted to get him on his feet, that’s when an officer identified as Kelli Swinton is heard saying, “we’re red now,” meaning the dashcam is on.
“Hold up, hold up, y’all. Everybody hold up,” she said near the end of the video. “It’s red right now, so if you’re worried about cameras, just wait,” before the video cuts off.
Police argue the cops were initially responding to a 911 call about shots fired, and that Burkemper had informed fellow officers that Bufford was armed, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Police recovered a 9mm semi-automatic pistol with four rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber from Bufford.
St. Louis Police Officer’s Association lawyer defended the cops, saying the video reflects “proper use of force against an armed suspect reaching for a gun.”
Bufford was initially charged with unlawful use of a weapon and a misdemeanor of resisting arrest, but those charges were dropped on Aug. 26 after his lawyers used the video as evidence to drop the charges.
According to police, the officer who turned off the dashcam has been recommended for discipline but is appealing.