Fired Florissant Officer Seen In New Video Hitting Man With Unmarked SUV
A second video showing a now-fired Florissant police officer hitting a man with an unmarked police vehicle was released Tuesday by the lawyers representing the victim.
Joshua Smith, who was caught by a residential surveillance camera striking a man with his unmarked police car on June 2, was terminated from the Florissant Police Department, Chief Timothy Fagan said last week. Now, the victim's lawyers are calling for Smith to be charged with assault.
"The video is sufficient evidence to immediately charge Joshua Smith with Assault 1st Degree and armed criminal action," attorneys Jermaine Wooten and Jerryl Christmas, of the Legal Solution Group, said in a statement.
The video shows Smith driving the unmarked vehicle onto the lawn of a Florissant home to hit the victim. The video then shows Smith getting out of the car to kick the man.
Attorney Scott Rosenblum is representing Smith. He issued a statement last week referencing his views on the Derek Chauvin case. Chauvin was charged with murder for kneeling on George Floyd's neck in Minneapolis for more than eight minutes.
"I have been an advocate against police abuse and misconduct my entire career. I wouldn't touch Chauvin with a 10' pole. That was clearly murder. I believe what this detective did was simply an accident," Rosenblum said.
Rosenblum declined to comment Tuesday on the second video.
Wooten and Christmas say the second video refutes Rosenblum's statement and said they think further investigation could warrant charges against the other two detectives.
Two other officers who were in the car remain on leave, but Fagan said last week that it appears they did not do anything wrong. He said the officers included information about how the man was struck in a police report but that there was a breakdown in communication, and it did not get to the chief.
"I should have known. There is no excuse," Fagan said. "But I do want to be clear to the public, I think there's been a misconception in some capacity the officers lied or the officers hid the fact that this incident occurred. That's not true."
One of them is the son of Tim Swope, a spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell. Bell has asked St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar to handle the case due to a conflict of interest.
Last week, Lohmar said the video of the incident looks “shocking.” When asked for comment about the second video, he said: "This is an ongoing investigation that we hope to wrap up by the end of the week."
Wooten told 5 On Your Side his firm released the second video for "complete transparency."
"We think the public needs to know what's going on with this particular case," he said. "It's garnered a lot of interest in St. Louis County.
"And I think the public is owed, and it's the duty from us as attorneys to go ahead and just show them exactly what occurred versus us just obtaining this information and keeping it for ourselves," Wooten said.
Wooten said he believes the officer should be charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action — a charge that carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence.
Wooten has said that his client had to undergo multiple surgeries to repair injuries to his leg and ankle.
The video shows multiple officers at the scene June 2 around 11:30 p.m. in the 9800 block of Eastdell Drive.
The view is partially obstructed by a car in a driveway. The man can be seen running away from the car after he gets out of the back seat before the unmarked police SUV arrives.
Wooten said his client got out of the car because the driver and front seat passenger had already gotten out and left the car rolling.
"He had no other option," Wooten said. "It was either stay in this moving vehicle and wait on it to crash or get outside this vehicle.
"He had no idea what was going on. So, he got outside the vehicle, tried to run to safety to get away from the vehicle, and then at that very moment, that's when he was struck by the car, and he had no idea this was a police officer. There were no sirens on, no cherries on, nothing to indicate to anyone that they were police officers," Wooten said.
The man can also be seen falling to the ground and heard repeatedly screaming, “I don’t have anything.”
A police helicopter spotlight also appears to be shining on the vehicle.
This story was originally published by 5 On Your Side, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.
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