A decorated cop in St. Louis has been charged with assault a year after breaking a man’s jaw with a flashlight as he was retreating, video shows.
Adam Feaman, 40, was charged Wednesday with second-degree assault and armed criminal action in the Aug. 14, 2017, beating of Jamal White, a 24-year-old man who approached the officer to find out why his car was being towed, according to court documents obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
A 3-minute video of the encounter shows White walking toward Feaman and another officer, one of whom said they didn’t need White “over here.” Feaman then ordered White to put his hands behind his back to be handcuffed, a command that White ignored while turning around to run away.
“You’re under arrest!” Feaman said while briefly pursuing White on foot. “You’re under arrest!”
“No, I’m not under arrest, how am I under arrest?” White replied. “No, get the f–k off me, bro! Get off me, how am I under arrest?”
The footage then shows Feaman — who was lauded as the city’s Fourth District Officer of the Year in 2016 — strike White once in the face, knocking him to the ground. Feaman then hit White again with his flashlight, this time in the back of the head while yelling, “Get on the motherf–king ground!”
The bystander who shot the video then asks Feaman why White was arrested, prompting the officer to say he was taken into custody for peace disturbance.
“Please get the recorder out of my face,” Feaman said. “You can hold it down and I’ll tell you.”
White was later charged with peace disturbance and resisting arrest. A judge has yet to rule on those charges after a bench trial was held earlier this month, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Police officials confirmed Wednesday that Feaman had been suspended after charges were filed against him. His attorney, Brian Millikan, declined comment, the Post-Dispatch reports.
White, meanwhile, filed a federal lawsuit against Feaman in April, claiming he used excessive force during the arrest. White’s attorney, Jermaine Wooten, said he was “elated” by Wednesday’s development.
“It was the officer’s intent to cause serious physical injury to Mr. White,” Wooten told the Post-Dispatch, adding that his client’s jaw was wired shut for more than two months.
Roughly one month after the incident, Feaman confronted White at a bar after learning of his intention to possibly file a lawsuit and threatened to “crack” White’s jaw again, according to the lawsuit.
Feaman, whose bond was set at $30,000 cash, was not in custody as of late Wednesday. Police officials declined to release his department photo, but said his booking photo would be released once he’s arrested, the Riverfront Times reports. A message seeking comment early Thursday was not immediately returned.
Feaman, according to the newspaper, has been the subject of several previous complaints, most recently in 2014 when a black man accused him and another cop of stealing $400 from him during a traffic stop. A police spokesman declined to comment when asked if disciplinary actions had been previously taken against Feaman.
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