Teen Claims St. Louis Cops Turned Off Dash Cam
“Hold up, everybody, hold up. We’re in the red right now, so if you guys are worried about cameras, just wait.”
That’s what St. Louis officer Kelli Swinton reportedly said to her fellow officers last April before she turned off the dash cam on her car during the arrest of 18-year-old Cortez Bufford.
Bufford is currently suing four officers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for using excessive force, claiming officers tased and beat him after he was pulled over for making an illegal U-turn. The dashboard camera, which was recording Bufford’s interaction with police was abruptly turned off during the encounter.
Bufford’s attorney, Joel Schwartz, claims that after being held by the police, the teenager had abrasions on his face and back, leaving him with several hospital bills.
Last April, St. Louis police were apparently investigating a 911 call of shots fired when they stopped Bufford. They claimed he “abruptly parked” after making the U-turn, but reports from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch differ, claiming the initial dash camera footage shows him parking normally.
Officers claim they asked Bufford and his passenger to get out of the car. While the passenger complied, Bufford reportedly refused. It is at this point officers forced Bufford from the car, wrestling him to the ground, with police claiming Bufford reached for an officer’s gun. Police later claim they found a “semi-automatic pistol” inside of the car.
It is when more cops arrive to the scene that Officer Swinton’s voice can be heard warning the other officers of the dash cam.
All charges against Bufford were dropped in light the finding the dash cam was turned off. The teen was initially facing a felony charge of unlawful use of a weapon and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.
Swinton is facing a recommendation that she be disciplined which she is presently appealing.