ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KSDK) – As they tried to arrest a man late last month, St. Louis police officers beat a mentally disabled man and a portion of the incident was captured on video. But was it a case of resisting arrest or police brutality?
According to police, the family of the man in the video, Mario Crump, called police for help when he started acting erratically on March 22nd. Now Crump is facing charges of resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.
He is a client of Independence Center, an organization in St. Louis that helps people with mental health issues live and work in their communities. The executive director Mike Keller says the video shows a need for more police officer training in what is known as CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) to distinguish the between what he sees as criminal behavior and a need for help.
"I want to give the police whom I have an affinity for the benefit of the doubt, but that video was soul-scarring," Keller said.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says more than half of his roughly 1,200 officers are CIT certified and he says there is a lot the 35 second video doesn't show – including injuries to officers.
Dotson has launched an internal investigation of the incident and assigned a captain to review the department's crisis intervention training methods.
"Certainly I want to make this a teachable moment," Dotson said. "But we also have to understand that society, with cutbacks in the mental health field, have really left individuals kind of in an area of limbo."
According to court documents Crump has more than 20 arrests, and several assault convictions. For this incident he is facing charges of assaulting an officer and resisting arrest.
The internal investigation of the officers is ongoing.