Society

Missouri Police Shove Black Woman, Use Pepper Spray (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Some are questioning the use of force by police at a gas station in Columbia, Missouri, on March 19, and now two videos (below) of the incident have surfaced.

The Columbia Police Department released a body cam video on March 20 showing an officer pointing his gun at an African-American couple and police yelling, "Get on the ground now!" KMIZ reports.

However, the couple remains standing, and the woman raises her arms in the air. Moments later, a cop is seen knocking her down on to the concrete.

The chaotic scene continues with cars honking, police shouting instructions at a small group of people and using pepper spray on them.

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In a second video, shot by an unidentified witness from a different angle, a cop is seen charging at the black woman, who has her hands up, and knocking her down on the ground.

The bystander's video also shows the police using pepper spray on the small group.

The Columbia Police Department posted its body cam video and a statement on Facebook on March 20.

The statement says the woman was "obstructing" police who were trying to take the man, Spencer Ervin, into custody for allegedly firing a gun at the scene (not on the videos):

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The body worn camera footage begins just after Spencer Ervin (seen in the red shirt) fired a gun at another person. Officers quickly move to apprehend Ervin who dropped the gun and was standing behind the woman you see being shoved in the cell phone video. Officers give directives to the woman to move out of the way.

The woman appears to be preventing officers from taking Ervin into custody. Ervin appears to ignore officers’ commands to see his hands. Officers direct Ervin to get down on the ground which he complies with. The woman continues to ignore officers’ commands and is subsequently pushed out of the way so officers’ could take Ervin into custody.

Ultimately, the woman was obstructing officers from taking Ervin, who had just fired a gun at another person, into custody. Further, the body worn camera footage shows subjects continuing to approach officers after Ervin is detained. Officers are observed establishing a perimeter around Ervin and the evidence. Officers gave lawful directives to the subjects to disperse. When the subjects refused to do so, officers deployed OC spray.

"It’s important to look at the situation as a whole. Incidents like this have many factors to take into consideration, and often multiple videos to review. That is why it’s important to hesitate before drawing any conclusions about circumstances portrayed in things like cell phone videos," says Deputy Chief John Gordon.

Police body camera video:

Bystander video:

Sources: KMIZColumbia Missouri Police Department/Facebook / Photo Credit: Columbia Missouri Police Department/Facebook

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