Cop Who Crashed SUV Into Gay Bar And Arrested Owner Ran Red Light Before Says Lawyer

Cop Who Crashed SUV Into Gay Bar And Arrested Owner Ran Red Light Before Says Lawyer

Details about why the officer crashed are still coming out but it appears to be an unforced error

A rookie officer from the St. Louis Police Department crashed into a bar around 12:30 a.m. on Monday morning. One of the owners of the LGBTQ bar ended up with a felony assault charge along with resisting arrest. Video footage of the incident sheds some light on the events of that unfortunate night.

The officer driving the police SUV was not engaged in a pursuit or responding to an emergency situation. Instead, the police officer claims he swerved to avoid something on the road and during this maneuver, his vehicle crossed the center line, the oncoming lane, and a bike lane before crashing into the bar.

The officer at the scene first told the gay bar’s owners, James Pence and Chad Morris, that he swerved to avoid a dog in the middle of the street. However, he later stated that he had to avoid a parked car. During a briefing yesterday, Lieutenant Colonel Renee Kriesmann said that the officer driving the cruiser “admits to getting distracted while attempting to change his in-car radio.”

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Read: SUV Doing Reverse Donuts Rolls Over Crushing 5 Passengers Hanging Out Of The Windows

The police report blames “distracted / inattentive” driving as a contributing circumstance. In a video of the aftermath, one of the bar owners, James Pence, can be heard arguing with police while in handcuffs. One officer tells a person shooting video of the interaction “he’s not going to yell at me, that’s causing a disturbance.”

Pence wasn’t arrested, but his partner and co-owner of the bar Chad Morris was. According to the Riverfront Times, authorities claim that Morris struck an officer and that he screamed obscenities at them. Footage of the incident and aftermath doesn’t appear to show the moment when Morris allegedly struck an officer, but it does show police taking him away in handcuffs.

After initially being charged with resisting arrest and felony assault, authorities reduced that second charge to a misdemeanor.

“Nobody should have to go through this – going from being a victim to having to defend yourself, your family, and your business,” Pence expressed during a news conference on Tuesday in their hometown of St. Louis, as reported by The Guardian. “That’s not what the police are here to do.”

What police aren’t saying or showing at this point might be more telling. As reported by the Daily Beast, authorities in St. Louis have stated that the two officers in the patrol car were not subjected to tests for intoxicating substances, and the cruiser did not have a dashboard camera installed. As of now, the police state that the investigation is still in progress, and as a result, they are not disclosing any bodycam footage of the confrontation with Morris.

“The police were clearly the aggressors here,” said Javad Khazaeli, one of the attorneys representing the bar’s owners. “When he was arrested by police, they had beaten him and ripped his shirt off.”

Speaking to  NBC News, the attorney stated, “You can’t have police officers terrorizing people because they’re victims of a crime, and when they asked what happened, to be treated this way.”

After the incident, Khazaeli shared surveillance footage from an intersection situated “only a 15-second walk from the bar.” In the video, a white SUV can be seen speeding down the road, as stated by Khazaeli in his post on X, formerly Twitter.

“I’m not an ‘Internationally Accredited’ police department but I was able to get this video in less than 24 hours,” Khazeali said in his tweet. “Interested in the ‘investigation’ police are doing of their own.”

Gif Javad Khazaeli /Twitter

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