Two police officers in Missouri have been indicted on assault charges — a year after they were caught on video slamming a transgender woman to the ground during an arrest.
Kansas City cops Matthew G. Brummett and Charles Prichard were each charged with fourth-degree assault on Friday for “recklessly causing pain” to Breona Hill as she was being handcuffed on May 24, 2019, The Kansas City Star reported.
The officers were responding to a disturbance at a beauty supply store when they went to arrest 30-year-old Hill who was standing outside, prosecutors said. The store owner said he’d called 911 to have Hill removed from the building.
A passerby witnessed part of the encounter, and said he began filming on his cellphone after he saw one of the cops punch the woman in the face.
Video showed Brummett slam Hill’s face to the sidewalk before dropping his knee on her neck and right shoulder.
The footage goes on to show Brummett stepping on Hill’s hip, as Prichard pulls her hands upward as she remains still, lying face down on the sidewalk, court records said.
Hill was issued citations for trespassing, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia.
On Oct. 14, 2019, Hill was shot and killed outside her home in an unrelated incident.
In February, the cops gave statements saying Hill was taken to the ground after resisting arrest and said, at one point, that she had hit her own head on the sidewalk.
Brummett said Hill was “fighting them” and that he believed she “would have become assaultive” if they let her go, according to court records.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said her office was prevented from filing charges after the police department declined to submit a probable cause statement to her office.
Police Chief Rick Smith said it wasn’t submitted because investigators in the police department found no probable cause to conclude that the law had been broken.
The case was then presented before a grand jury, which brought the charges on Friday. The cops have been summoned to appear before a judge in August.
They have been placed on administrative duty while the case is pending, Smith said.
The officers’ attorneys said in a statement that they “maintain that the force they used was reasonable under the totality of the circumstances.”
The Fraternal Order of Police called the charges “unjustified” and an example of “politically motivated prosecution.”
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