[WATCH] Cop in Heated Exchange With Motorist Over Honking is ID’d as Investigator of Officer-Involved Shootings

ST. LOUIS • An officer a St. Louis man claims ticketed him for honking at the officer’s car stopped at a green light has been identified as a detective with the St. Louis Force Investigation Unit.

The officer, Detective Steven Burle, was hired by the St. Louis Police Department in 1989 and is a member of the five-person unit tasked with investigating every time a St. Louis city officer uses a gun to kill or wound someone.

Photos and a video of Burle in a heated verbal exchange with the driver, St. Louis computer programmer Scott Smith, got widespread attention online this week.

Smith claims he was driving back to work from lunch in Soulard when he repeatedly honked and eventually held down his horn at a car stopped at the green light at South 12th Street and Geyer Avenue.

The car then turned on hidden police lights and pulled him over, Smith said.

Smith turned on his phone’s camera as the officer approached his vehicle, he said. A police source identified the man as Burle. He could not be reached for comment.

The video doesn’t show the officer, but includes audio of both the driver and Burle angrily cursing at each other about the honking. In the video, Burle calls Smith a “smartass” and demands to see his license.

Smith said he was detained at the side of the road for about 45 minutes and the officer told him he would be getting a ticket in the mail for excessive noise coming from a vehicle.

A passenger in Smith’s car captured a photo of the officer, which was identified as Burle.

A spokesperson for the St. Louis Police Department said the department launched an internal affairs investigation into the incident but declined to comment further.

Burle has a history of complaints against him, including three lawsuits related to use of force.

In the latest, filed in November 2016, he was among several officers an Occupy protester, Scott O’Rourke, accused of watching an officer break his nose during an interrogation without intervening. The suit is still pending.

In 2008, Burle and seven other officers were sued in connection with a May 2005 incident in which they allegedly entered a home without a warrant, used a stun gun on a suspect about 30 times and punched him in the head. Burle and the other officers denied the allegations. The case was settled out of court in 2011.

In 2006, Burle was also among a group officers accused of excessive use of force. Patrick Lingo alleged the officers beat him during an interrogation after he tried to sell T-shirts near Busch Stadium during a 2005 Cardinals game.

Lingo said the officers were working security and took him to a police substation where they beat, slapped, choked and strip-searched him.

A federal jury in 2008 sided with Lingo, awarding him $91,000 in damages in the case.

Burle is now one of four detectives and a lieutenant who make up the current Force Investigation Unit for the St. Louis Police Department.

The unit was formed in the fall of 2014 shortly after the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer, with the goal of determining if each use of deadly force by officers is legal.

Since its inception, the unit has had critics, however, that say honest accountability cannot be accomplished internally within the department.

Last month, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner asked for $1.3 million to launch an independent team to replace the unit and lead all police shooting investigations. Gardner’s request came three weeks after a judge found former St. Louis police Officer Jason Stockley not guilty of murder in the shooting of a drug suspect, sparking protests.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association said in a statement that it had “serious concerns” about the effectiveness of Gardner’s oversight in police use-of-force cases and said the Force Investigation Unit should remain in place.

Source: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/cop-in-heated-exchange-with-motorist-over-honking-is-id/article_36180838-1990-5b4a-bd5d-311854edaeb4.html#tracking-source=home-featured

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 3374 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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