Rev. Darryl Gray and clergy gathered at the Florissant Police Department today (Monday, June 8), calling for the dismissal of the Florissant detective who was caught on Ring doorbell video in Dellwood, striking a man with his police vehicle and reportedly brutalizing him during an arrest after he was on the ground. The officer is identified by Real STL News as Detective Joshua Smith.
The video was recorded early last week and released over the weekend to Real STL News. The victim, a 20-year-old black man, was reportedly hospitalized before being released today.
“We don’t want another Minneapolis,” Pastor Larita Rice-Barnes said. “We Should be able to walk the streets and not be threatened.”
Clergy and the NAACP St. Louis Chapter stood together in solidarity demanding that Smith and other officers involved be fired and charged Immediately.
“Even if the climate wasn’t as it is, right is right and wrong is wrong,” Gray said. “If any of us had committed the same action as what the police committed, we would be in jail now.”
Minister Carole Jackson, a retired University City police commander, said Missouri had the highest rate for racial profiling and the law is broken here.
“You did a crime and now you’re going to get paid to sit at home,” Jackson said. “I stand with them. I am sick of my profession that I laid my life down for 38-plus years being hijacked by racism and all the mess that’s going on. I’m tired of it.”
Pastor Larita Rice-Barnes believes that the police need to be examined for mental health issues regularly to make sure that they are fit to be on the force. She visited Minneapolis for the memorial of George Floyd.
“The law that’s supposed to protect us is used against us as black people,” Rice-Barnes said.
The clergy has been at protests standing in between the protests and police. Two other officers are being investigated for the incident. The clergy says any cops at the scene who did not stop the violence that occurred should also be charged.
“We are here because termination is our determination,” said Rev. Zachary Mullins.
The clergy has been present at the nonviolent protests these past weeks and will continue to show their support on the frontlines. Protesters are planning to gather at Florissant Police department every day until Smith is terminated and charged.
St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar is investigating the case, as there was a conflict of interest involving a staff at St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell’s office.
Lomar told reporters today that he too saw the video over the weekend. “What I saw was shocking and disturbing, but that’s all I know,” Lomar said. “There’s a lot more to it that we need to know before we get to the bottom of it and know what the truth is.”