After numerous media inquiries, the St. Paul Police have released squad car video of the controversial arrest of a local man last year. Eric Hightower was arrested for allegedly threatening his ex-girlfriend and a bystander shot video of the bust and posted it on YouTube. During the clip, Officer Jesse Zilge can be seen kicking Hightower, 31, while he is lying on his side on the ground.
The new video now gives a clue as to what happened in backseat of the squad car.
"What am I being arrested for?" Hightower is heard demanding. "I ain't did [sic] nothing wrong." Officer Matthew Goran then gets into the backseat of the car and proceeds to pull Hightower in, first by his shirt, then by his hair. It then looks as if Goran uses pepper spray on the side of Hightower's head.
"He's sprayin' me in my ear! Sir! My ear! My ear! My eye! Please!," Hightower yells.
An Olmstead County investigation into the case determined that no charges should be filed against either officer. However, the St. Paul Police conducted their own Internal Affairs Investigation and decided to fire Goran and suspend Zilge for 30 days.
The Police Federation is protesting the sanctions and the release of the video, KARE 11 reported. The Federation released a statement about the matter: "It is the Federation's position that the city releasing video and photographic evidence gathered following the Hightower arrest violates state law, specifically Minnesota Statute section 626.89, the Peace Officers Discipline Procedures Act. Any member of the public, viewing the video or the pictures out of context ... could easily draw false conclusions about what occurred."
The statement goes on to defend the two officers.
"The officers in the Hightower arrest acted within policy and pursuant to their training. Our members were dealing with a known dangerous individual who refused to follow directives, at a time when very dangerous conditions posed a threat to officer safety. The Federation will take any necessary and appropriate action to protect their rights."
The video is below: