BRECKENRIDGE HILLS, Mo. —
An uneventful trip to a friend's house to get their taxes done turned into something quite different for a St. Louis County couple.
They say they're now the victims of excessive force by a local police officer.
"We are going to file a complaint against him because he went about it the wrong way," Ashley Kitchell said.
On Thursday, she and her wife, Lexi, were driving southbound in the 3100 block of Calvert Ave. in Breckenridge Hills.
According to police, Officer Jason Maskey was driving northbound when he saw the couple's vehicle.
Police said Maskey made a quick U-turn in an attempt to catch up to the couple for a traffic stop.
Police said the reason he wanted to pull them over was because their car's front and passenger windows were tinted beyond what the state allows.
Police said the couple had reached their friend's house and were parked in the driveway when Maskey caught up to them and turned on his running lights to begin the stop.
"We looked at each other like are you serious? We're already out of the car. I didn't know we did anything wrong. We were just trying to go in the house," Lexi said.
"We got out of the car. We were walking in the grass and he came flying behind us. He told us we needed to come back to the car," Ashley said.
Police did confirm that part of the couple's story.
Detective Sargent .Mitch Armer said Officer. Maskey attempted to get both women to remain at the vehicle.
"We don't know someone's purpose for trying to exit a vehicle and go into a residence, but it's unsafe for the officer," he said.
Armer said Ashley, the driver, was compliant from the start.
But he said Lexi, the passenger, was immediately combative and repeatedly refused to listen to the officer's commands.
"She started cursing at him. She called him some inappropriate names," Armer said. "Then said 'You're not my dad, you're not my mom. I don't have to listen to you."
Lexi denies saying some of that, but admits she wasn't totally cooperative because she didn't believe she was in the wrong for anything.
"I just felt like I was being falsely accused of something when I wasn't doing anything. I was just trying to walk to a friend's house," she said.
She added that because of her pregnancy, she really needed to get inside the house to use the restroom.
Armer said Officer. Maskey was eventually left no choice but to try and handcuff Lexi after she continued refusing to listen to him and sit down back in the car.
He was unaware of any requests by Lexi made to the officer about gaining access to the restroom.
It's about at this point that Ashley pulled out her cell phone and started recording the interaction. So far, the post has been shared more than 1,000 times on Facebook.
Armer said Lexi at one point slipped out of the handcuff on her left wrist and elbowed the officer as he was reaching for her right side.
That's when the department admits Maskey used some force to try and re-gain control of her.
The video shows him using his body to push Lexi, stomach first, up against the back passenger side of the car.
"I can see where there's cause for concern, but my concern is why did she put herself in a position to be physical while knowing she's pregnant. She just started thrashing," Armer said.
You can hear Lexi scream, "I'm f****** pregnant!" Then it appears to sound like she is crying out in pain.
Ashley is heard in the background trying to get her wife to calm down and just listen to the officer.
She eventually stated she was calling an ambulance.
"The way that I hit my stomach just felt like a bomb hit me. It just hut. It hurt so bad. That's why I screamed so loud," Lexi said.
Another video from inside their friend's house shows Lexi being arrested and put into a police car.
Armer said about 30 minutes later, she was released with citations for failure to comply and resisting arrest.
Ashley was also ticketed for the tinted windows.
The couple said they went to the hospital afterward, but found no serious injuries to Lexi or the baby. They said there was some bruising on Lexi's stomach, though.
Armer said he's seen the video on social media and believes his officer acted well within his authority given the circumstances.
He said sometimes, there can be special exceptions made for a pregnant subject to be handcuffed in the front. But he said Lexi's behavior at the time didn't warrant that.
He said he believed Officer Maskey was unaware of the pregnancy until after Lexi began screaming about it on the video.
The couple said they informed him almost immediately that she was pregnant, but that they hadn't started recording at that point.
They plan on filing a formal complaint with the department for officer misconduct.
"He just didn't handle this the right way," they said.