Ex-Missouri detective found guilty in excessive force case
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A federal jury has found a former suburban St. Louis police detective with a string of past misconduct allegations guilty in an excessive force case for kicking a defenseless person during a 2019 arrest.
Ellis Brown III was convicted Thursday of felony deprivation of rights under color of law for repeatedly kicking a man who was face-down and restrained, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Steven Kolb had led St. Ann police officers on a chase in April 2019 through north St. Louis before his car and several police cars crashed, prosecutors said. Kolb then got out of his car and initially tried to flee before lying on his stomach in a bank parking lot with his hands outstretched.
The incident was captured on bank surveillance video, and prosecutors said it showed Kolb had surrendered as was not a threat.
“Ellis Brown was interested in one thing and one thing only: retribution,” U.S. Attorney Sirena Wissler said in her closing argument.
Prosecutors said the beating required Kolb to be flown by medical helicopter to hospital for treatment of broken ribs and broken bones in his face.
Defense attorney James Towey said in his closing argument that Brown could have believed Kolb had a weapon, though no weapon was found.
“Police work is a very dangerous job,” Towey told the jury. “They make split-second decisions.”
Brown faces up to 10 years in prison when he’s sentenced in September.
Brown was the former head of the St. Ann police detective bureau at the time of the 2019 arrest and carried a string of misconduct complaints on his record when he joined the department in 2017.
He had come to the St. Ann department — which has hired several officers accused of misconduct at other departments — after leaving the St. Louis Police Department during a state of Missouri disciplinary investigation in which he and his partner were accused of following a vehicle that crashed, then not reporting the crash or helping the driver. Investigators say Brown also lied about how he spend his time that night.
Brown denied the misconduct, but state officials placed his police license on probation.
Brown also was one of two officers who shot and killed 25-year-old Kajieme Powell in St. Louis in 2014 while investigating reports that Powell stole an energy drink and snacks from a market. Local prosecutors later declined to charge the officers, who said Powell approached them with a knife.
Several criminal cases involving Brown in St. Louis were later thrown out when lawyers found he submitted nearly identical language in 19 search warrant applications.
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