ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis police officer is charged with assault for allegedly striking a man in the head and face with a flashlight hard enough to break his jaw.
Prosecutors on Wednesday charged Adam Feaman with second-degree assault and armed criminal in a 2017 altercation with Jamal White that a bystander recorded on cellphone video . St. Louis police said in a statement that Feaman was suspended Wednesday when charges were issued.
Authorities say the altercation happened when police went to White’s apartment to tow his car in August 2017. White came out of the apartment and Feaman told him he was under arrest.
White, a black 24-year-old, seemed perplexed and began to move away from the officer, according to video shot by a bystander.
“Get the (expletive) off me, bro,” White said as the officer chased him. “Get off me. How am I under arrest?”
The video appears to show Feaman catch up and strike White in the face, knocking him to the ground, then hitting him again in the head.
“At the time the defendant strikes the victim in the head with the flashlight, the video shows that the victim is trying to back away from the defendant,” a probable cause statement from police Sg. Kelly Fisher stated.
A second officer arrived and told White to stop resisting and get down on the ground. A short time later, White was handcuffed and led away.
Feaman’s attorney, Brian Millikan, on Thursday declined comment.
Feaman, 40, has been a St. Louis officer for 14 years. The police probable cause statement identifies him as African-American. He is free on $30,000 bail posted by the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association.
White’s injuries were so severe that his mouth was wired shut for 10 weeks and he nearly lost his ear from the blow to the head, according to White’s attorney, Jermaine Wooten.
“His ear was actually severed,” Wooten said. “They had to attach it back to his head.”
White was charged with peace disturbance and resisting arrest. A bench trial was held this month, but the judge has not yet ruled.
White filed a federal lawsuit in April alleging Feaman used excessive force. The suit says White was unarmed and presented no danger to the officer.