FLORISSANT, Mo. – Florissant Police announced this afternoon that the officer seen on video hitting a man in an unmarked police car has been fired. The officer is Joshua Smith, a nine-year veteran of the force.
Florissant Police Chief Tim Fagan said the move comes after an internal affairs investigation.
The video that surfaced last week shows what appears to be an unmarked police vehicle striking a running man. A detective then got out of the vehicle runs over to the man laying on a lawn and kicks him a couple of times, then gets on top of the man and hits him as he tries to restrain his hands behind his back.
That video was taken after a traffic stop for a vehicle that matched the description of one for shots fired near the police department.
Investigators say during that stop, two other people in the stopped car took off running. Chief Fagan said the two officers in the unmarked patrol car pursued those suspects. Those officers are still on leave but are not being investigated for the incident caught on camera.
FOX2 asked the chief if the department would share Smith’s past disciplinary records. The chief said he couldn’t because they are part of a criminal investigation.
Chief Fagan did call two federal lawsuits involving Smith unfair. He said one suit did not allege any use of force and was dismissed. A second suit that involves a white defendant is still ongoing.
“I have been an advocate against police abuse and misconduct my entire career ; I wouldn’t touch (Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek) Chauvin’s case with a 10 foot pole. That was clearly murder.”
But Florissant Police Officer Joshua Smith, “I believe what this detective did, was simply an accident.”