Black community leaders in St. Paul, Minnesota, are criticizing local police after the violent arrest of a stalking suspect surfaced on YouTube.
Authorities charged 30-year-old Eric R. Hightower on Thursday with aggravated stalking, terroristic threats and property damage against his ex-girlfriend following his arrest on Tuesday, during which an officer was filmed kicking him and then, with another officer, slamming him head-first onto the hood of a police car.
According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, a group of representatives from local civic groups and churches denounced the use of “street justice” in Hightower’s arrest and asked residents to report similar encounters to prove it wasn’t an isolated incident.
“If that video hadn’t been taken, would we even know Eric Hightower’s name? “said Jeffry Martin, president of the St. Paul chapter of the NAACP.
The video starts after Hightower is laying on the ground, with Officer Jesse Zilge standing over him. Hightower shouts, “What are you arresting me for?” The unidentified person filming the video says Zilge pulled up and maced him.
Then, as Hightower is coughing away from Zilge, Zilge can clearly be seen kicking him in the chest. CNN reports that Zilge has been placed on paid administrative leave.
Seconds later, as Zilge is placing Hightower’s arms behind his back to handcuff him, Zilge tells an off-camera witness he had beat up a woman.
“I ain’t even been around here!” Hightower answers, angrily. “You’re f-cking lying!”
Then, as Zilge and an unidentified second officer are pulling Hightower to his feet, Hightower curses at him again, at which point the two officers slam him onto the hood of the patrol car. The second officer has also been placed on administrative leave, though authorities did not release his name.
The president of the St. Paul Police Federation, the union representing Zilge, released a statement saying the video doesn’t tell the whole story behind Hightower or his arrest.
“Once this process is complete, we believe the facts will show that a good cop was in a dangerous situation with a known dangerous individual,” Dave Titus said in the statement. “The video footage captured by an onlooker does not provide complete context of the incident and by no means demonstrates how the officer perceived the threat at hand.”
Authorities told CNN St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith ordered an investigation into the incident after he “found that the video images raised questions about use of force.”
Hightower is currently free on $35,000 bail. He is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 14 for separate felony assault and drug possession charges.
The footage of Hightower’s arrest, posted on YouTube earlier this week, can be seen below.
Trump official Peter Navarro sputters after his lack of medical qualifications exposed in train wreck CNN interview
Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro over the weekend got into a heated argument with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, over the use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19.
Navarro then went on CNN Monday to present his side of the dispute with Fauci, and he was quickly exposed by CNN's John Berman as being completely unqualified to be offering his opinion on medical matters.
Kushner sparking ‘confusion’ by routing COVID-19 response through Trump’s ‘corporate allies’: WaPo reporter
Reporter Robert Costa revealed that Jared Kushner has been coordinating the distribution of medical supplies with Republican donors.
The Washington Post national political reporter said President Donald Trump's son-in-law has sparked confusion in those efforts by placing himself in the chain of command, and both Kushner and trade adviser Peter Navarro were contradicting advice from White House medical experts.
"When you ask about the inner circle, it is clear to me," Costa told MSNBC's "Morning Joe," "based on my reporting, that Peter Navarro, more than anyone now, whether it's on urging the president to take a position that's different than Dr. [Anthony] Fauci, or when it comes to the Defense Production Act, nudging corporations, sometimes pushing corporations to do what the White House wants, that Navarro is at the center."
‘Don’t you dare!’ CNN’s John Berman rains hell on Trump official Peter Navarro for suggesting he wants people to die
CNN's John Berman on Monday got into a heated exchange with Trump trade adviser Peter Navarro after he questioned whether Berman actually wanted to see people recover from being infected with COVID-19.
Toward the end of a lengthy interview about the potential merits of treating COVID-19 with anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, Berman told Navarro that "we all want the same thing, which is people to get better."
"I'm not sure we do sometimes," Navarro replied.
"What are you talking about?" Berman asked.
At this point, Navarro fumbled around trying to explain himself, but Berman called him out on it.