Overland has never been a good place for Afrikans & Cops...NEVER
Overland resident alleges police brutality
Nine stitches required to close busted lip
By Bill Beene
Of the St. Louis American
When a 25-year-old black motorist decided to drive a half block to his girlfriend's house before he stopped for two Overland police cars that had pulled behind him with their emergency lights on, it allegedly cost him a "beatdown."
The driver, Scott Taylor, alleges that on July 20 at 1:30 a.m. he led the two police cars until he reached his girlfriend's Breckenridge Hills home because he feared a backlash from the recent shooting death of a Kirkwood police officer.
When he exited his car, he said, he received a violent greeting from the officers for whom he had failed to yield.
"One officer slammed me to the ground, Maced me, and they started beating and kicking me," Taylor said.
"Another cop was standing on the back of my leg and one had his foot on my head while they were handcuffing me, and they didn't stop until a neighbor came out."
Taylor said he kept screaming, "Help, I can't breathe!" but received this reply from one of the officers: "You're okay - if you were in the city, you would be dead by now."
Taylor said that all of the cops were white.
"Scott had about four to five cops beating the crap out of him," one neighbor who witnessed the alleged beating, Michelle Johnson, said in a written statement.
"I could hear a couple of the cops laughing and bragging, and I could hear Scott saying he couldn't breathe. Some of the cops were flashing their lights up at my house - I guess to see if anyone was watching."
Another neighbor, Katherine Justice, wrote, "The person never had a chance. The police were all around him smiling, laughing and flashing their lights on the victim to see what damage they had done to his face."
Taylor's sister, Nita Taylor, visited him immediately at the emergency room at SSM DePaul Health Center. "I couldn't recognize him," she said, "and his 2-year-old son is scared of him."
The medical report filed on Taylor at SSM DePaul Health Center documents "facial and scalp contusions (deep bruise), knee contusion/abrasion and lip lacerasion."
The report concluded, "Your exam shows you have a contusion around the face or scalp. Injuries around the face and head cause a lot of swelling, especially around the eyes."
The damage to Taylor's upper lip was closed with nine stitches, and busted blood vessels are still visible in his eyes.
Special instructions on the report requested that Taylor follow up with the trauma surgeon for reevalution.
Taylor said that a paramedic vehicle responded at the scene, but that one of the police officers instead drove him to the hospital, where one of his arms was handcuffed to his bed.
"The doctor asked the police what happened, and the officer replied, ‘He fell,'" Taylor wrote in a statement.
The officer released Taylor from the hospital and told him he could pick "things" up from the Overland Police Department, according to Taylor.
Vomiting, a severe headache and mistrust of the DePaul doctors led Taylor and his mother to visit Forest Park Hotel that same early morning.
After leaving the second hospital, family members drove Taylor to the Overland Police Department, where Taylor was allegedly told by Police Chief James Herron that no charges were pending against him.
Taylor said Herron then handed him a complaint form and told him to fill it out and return it to him.
"Our policy is that we investigate all complaints against the police," Herron told the American. "I get livid about any kind of abuse, though there are times when we have to use force. But, like anyone else, they (the officers) are innocent until proven guilty."
Herron said complaints against Overland police are handled by the department's Operation's Division, which also conducts civilian criminal investigations. Herron said the lead investigator, Capt. Robert E. Morrissey, was currently on vacation and thus unavailable for comment.
Herron didn't give the names of the officers involved in the alleged incident with Taylor, and Taylor did not know their names.
Five citations against Taylor have since been mailed to Taylor's girlfriend's Breckenridge Hills address. They include driving without insurance, speeding, resisting arrest, not yielding to an emergency vehicle and driving with a suspended license.