Verbal disputes happen all the time. However, it is relatively rare that a verbal dispute turns to violence. Unfortunately, if an off-duty police officer is involved in a physical dispute, additional scrutiny could apply because of his or her occupation. Although assault charges have been announced against two Missouri police officers, many details of the dispute remain unclear.
The incident that led to criminal charges reportedly happened in April 2018. According to reports, an off-duty officer at a bar became involved in a confrontation with another customer. Reports claim that the same officer as well as another off-duty officer approached the customer as he sat in a van afterward.
Reports indicate that in the encounter that ensued, one police officer threw the customer to the ground. The force of impact allegedly caused the customer's gun to go off, shooting the officer in the arm and hand. The second officer responded by shooting the customer; fortunately, the customer survived. Charges against the two men were recently announced.
Some sources argue that the circuit attorney who decided to charge the men with assault disregarded testimony by witnesses as well as forensic and video evidence upon deciding to charge the men. Unfortunately, several other recent issues occurring with police officers in St. Louis has likely left the entire department facing extreme scrutiny. These Missouri officers are now left to make multiple critical decisions as a result of the charges. They likely want an experienced criminal defense attorney on their side as they do so.