St. Louis, MO – St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Garner’s office has publicly accused two St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) officers of lying about an armed suspect who they said tried to carjack their marked patrol vehicle last month.
Although a suspect was quickly arrested and allegedly confessed on video to having attempted to steal the vehicle at gunpoint, St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office Chief Warrant Officer Chris Hinckley and prosecutor Redditt Hudson held a press conference April 5 to proclaim police were lying about the whole ordeal, KTVI reported.
They also released heavily-pixilated security footage of the incident, which they claimed proved the officers made the story up.
“This is nowhere near what he represented,” Hinckley declared. “This case has been dismissed for good reason. I hope to never see something like this enter the Circuit Attorney’s warrant office again.”
The surveillance footage, which was shot at night from a significant distance away, showed a person walking out into the road just before a SLMPD pickup pulled to a stop.
The pedestrian then changed direction and started walking towards the passenger-side of the marked unit, with the camera’s view being obstructed by the vehicle, just before the patrol vehicle sped off.
The subject then casually walked away.
Nothing in the video actually appears to conflict with the statements made by the two officers who witnessed the suspect point a gun at them.
The SLMPD previously confirmed the incident began at approximately 3 a.m. on March 19, when two officers received a report of gunfire in the area of Seventh Street and Chouteau Avenue, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The officers were traveling eastbound down Chouteau Avenue near South Tucker Boulevard when a suspect suddenly walked out into the street in front of their patrol vehicle, according to police.
The officers came to a stop just before the suspect made his way over to the passenger side and pointed a gun at them, investigators said.
“The officers were able to maneuver out of harm’s way while the suspect simultaneously discovered he was attempting to carjack a fully marked police car,” the SLMPD said, according to KTVI. “The suspect took off running.”
The officers immediately sent out an “officer-in-need-of-aid” alert, which brought additional officers rushing to the area, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Police ultimately apprehended the suspect, who was allegedly carrying a gun at the time of his arrest.
No one was injured during the initial incident or during the apprehension of the 27-year-old suspect, according to police.
The suspect was later identified as Allen Robinson, KMOV reported.
The SLMPD asked the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office to charge the gunman with armed criminal action, first-degree robbery, and resisting arrest, but prosecutors refused to file any of those charges against him, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
After refusing to prosecute, the circuit attorney’s office obtained the video footage they claimed proved the officers’ account had been fabricated.
But the video did not appear to back the accusations made by Garner’s office, in part due to the blurriness of the footage as well as the fact that the suspect was blocked from the camera’s view when he was on the passenger side of the patrol vehicle.
The incident wasn’t captured on bodycam because the officer was driving at the time, KTVI reported.
The vehicle was not equipped with a dashcam.
Hudson said that without the footage his office uncovered, “the truth of this matter would have never seen the light of day.”
“What our investigation reveals is a serious breach of trust in our city’s criminal justice system,” he added, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The SLMPD said the prosecutor’s office didn’t bother to tell them about the allegations levied against the officers, and that the department only learned of them after KTVI told them about the press conference, according to the news outlet.
A SLMPD spokesperson said the department is launching an internal investigation and has requested the evidence gathered by Gardner’s office, KTVI reported.
The St. Louis Police Officers’ Association (SLPOA) staunchly defended the officers Tuesday in the wake of the allegations levied against them.
“The St. Louis Police Officers’ Association (“SLPOA”) stands behind the two officers who are victims of a crime perpetrated on March 19, 2022,” the union said in a statement to KTVI. “The SLPOA wants to [sic] why employees of the Circuit Attorney failed to present the perpetrator’s videotaped confession and the remainder of the body camera footage relating to the incident both of which fully and completely decimate the fairy tale narrative spun in today’s press conference. The truth will prevail.”
Hudson said no charges have been filed against either of the officers involved in the incident, but that the case remains under investigation, KMOV reported.
“At this point I would say everything is on the table, and we will have to see where that investigation leads,” the prosecutor said.