Police Abuse

St. Louis Cops Stop Beating Up Man to Turn Off Dashcam Recording Them, Lawsuit Claims

Only the officer who shut the dashcam off was "disciplined" in any way.

|

screencap via KSDK

Police in St. Louis say they pulled Cortez Bufford over last April because his car matched the description of a vehicle linked to a "shots fired" call. They say he resisted arrest, which necessitated the use of force. A dashcam video shows police physically pulling Bufford out of the car and then appearing to kick him before one of the cops realizes the dashcam is on. KSDK-TV reports:

They are on the ground for nearly two minutes when you hear an officer say, "we are red right now," which means the camera is on, and then the camera shuts off.

"Hold up, everybody hold up, we are red right now, so if you guys are worried about the cameras just wait," the unidentified officer said.

Bufford's attorney said there was no reason for the police to pull over his client, and no reason for officers to kick him.

Police say they found a gun and marijuana in Bufford's car. (What did he think this was, a free country?) He was initially charged with possession of the marijuana and gun, and resisting arrest, but all the charges were dropped. The city attorney suggested they were dropped because of the problem with the dashcam video, which her office says it also referred to internal affairs and investigated itself.

The city attorney says she found no conduct by the cops on the video that violated state law. Only the officer who shut the dashcam video off was "disciplined" for not following policy. As I noted yesterday, these are the kinds of instances where applying zero tolerance could take potentially dangerous officers off the street and help ensure residents keep getting home safe at night. Authorities may deny the cops who allegedly assaulted Bufford did anything wrong but must admit turning off the camera violated policy. It ought to be among the fireable offenses for police officers.

Bufford is suing the police department, so the conduct, for which only one of the officers was disciplined, could yet cost the city. But it won't cost the cops.

Watch a portion of the video below:

NEXT: The Premature Glee of the Libya Hawks

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Only the officer who shut the dashcam video off was “disciplined” for not following policy.

    What did he think this was, a free country?

  2. The city attorney says she found no conduct by the cops on the video that violated state law.

    Kicking a guy laying on the ground is legal? Good to know.

    1. Yeah no doubt, need to start saving these videos in case I end up in a fight some day. See, prosecuters across the land say that anything goes.

  3. Oh! All those poor, poor, autistic Jews!

      1. Maybe the cops were circumcised and autistic and that is why they turned of the cameras?

        1. Is it too late for them to sue their parents?

      2. I’ll have to circumcise your post.

    1. Initially I wondered how the fuck.

  4. I posted that in the Lynx yesterday.

    1. And you know better than to expect a hat tip, being an old H&R vet’ran.

      1. I get them once in a blue moon.

  5. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!

    Sorry. That’s all I’ve got at this point.

  6. I’d love to be the plaintiff attorney in the depositions or trial examination of the cops…

  7. Another great victory for cops! BOO YAH!

    1. Every cop WANTS to be on camera, to prove that their conduct was lawful and appropriate. BOOYA body cameras! BOOYA accountability!

      (this is what Dunphy claims to believe)

  8. Zero tolerance? WTF? We’re going from low earth orbit to Andromeda, no stops in between?

    There is NO accountability for cops now, nothing. So before we start talking about zero tolerance, can we at least achieve some degree of accountability?

    1. Good point.

  9. I see cops who lose their way every day, and I don’t like that,
    because their ambivalence is contagious. They infect those around them. They’re like maggots. Where you find one, you find a nest.
    — Robert De Niro in Cop Land (1997).

    1. That’s the HPD,for sure.

  10. Law enforcement was developed by some very clever fellows who understood perfectly how to get away with shit…

    It is no accident that the law enforcement bureaucracy is integrated within a system designated to prosecute and punish ‘law-breakers’.

    How the law-and-order mindset cannot see this really illustrates the absurdity of societies supposedly based on a ‘conscientious’ assessment of liberty. They trumpet the rule of law when in actuality the rule of law is based on very shady principles.

    1. Rule of law is not the problem. The problem is that many laws do not deserve respect, and the people who enforce them are not held accountable. Fixing the former would probably help the latter, since good people are not drawn to the job of enforcing laws that are unworthy of respect.

      1. Prosecutors cannot be adversaries to the people they work closely with which happens to be the police.

        There is no incentive for prosecutors to ‘go after’ law-breaking cops with the same fervor they are legally required to exhibit toward a citizen who engaged in similar law-breaking activities.

        No citizen would be let off the hook for running up to someone laying on the ground and kicking them in the head. Period.

        The system that anoints and manages the rule of law is very much the problem.

        1. Prosecutors cannot be adversaries to the people they work closely with which happens to be the police.

          Very true.

          I’ve thought it would be interesting to combine the prosecutor function with the public defender function, and assign cases randomly. The same lawyer would be prosecuting and defending different cases at the same time.

          Might change a lot of dynamics.

          1. A great idea, RC.

            However, I predict government employees will merely develop a new kind of arrogance and a new kind of cognitive dissidence. They’ll become something like Superhitler.

          2. I suspect the end result of that would be more public defenders throwing cases and doing half-assed work for indigent clients because they don’t want to poison the well with the cops they’ll eventually have to work with as prosecutors.

  11. Authorities may deny the cops who allegedly assaulted Bufford did anything wrong but must admit turning off the camera violated policy. It ought to be among the fireable offenses for police officers.

    Yep. Which is why it will never happen.

    “Oh! You’re such a bad boy, turning off that camera like that! Here, come into this room and pretend that I’m disciplining you.”

  12. I am making a good salary from home $5500-$7000/week , which is amazing, under a year ago I was jobless in a horrible economy. I thank God every day I was blessed with these instructions and now it’s my duty to pay it forward and share it with Everyone,
    Here is I started,,,,,,
    ?????? ?????? ?????? http://www.netpay20.com

  13. This American Life did a two-parter called “Cops See it Differently” on this very subject. It is an excellent study in how much our personal point of view colors our perception. They showed the reactions of various people and police to videos of reported abuse like this situation and the reactions could not have been further apart.

    Where non-police see someone reacting to pain, the police see non-compliance necessitating force. Where non-police see excessive force, police see restraint and professionalism. This wasn’t a “bad cop” dichotomy. They went out of their way to find police sympathetic to reform. But their point of view as police colored their perception entirely and made it impossible for them to see things from the point of view of the citizen.

    This report is well worth a listen.

  14. The city attorney says she found no conduct by the cops on the video that violated state law.

    Maybe she should look harder. I’m pretty sure that kicking someone who is already subdued violates state law.

  15. I know I’m a bit slow. But, could someone please explain why the police are allowed to turn off their cameras.

    1. Because the prosecutor won’t charge them for doing so.

      Laws only matter when the people in charge of enforcing the laws choose to enforce them. That’s true whether you’re talking about police or criminals (not that those are always two different things).

  16. Funny isn’t it, how Zero Tolerance never seems to apply to the boys, maybe the girls too, In Blue?

  17. We may,one day, arrive at the unhappy point where there is zero cooperation, if not outright hostility between the police and a majority of the “civilian” population. When and if,we reach that sad point in time, I wonder as to what the cops might do, as there are more of us civilians than there of them.

    1. We’ve already got there,here in Hartford,Corrupticut,USA.

  18. You can be fairly sure the drugs &/or the gun were planted there.

  19. Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start…
    This is where to start???.

    ?????????? http://www.netpay20.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.