Attorneys allege ‘clear pattern’ of civil rights violations


The entire incident was caught on camera from a bystander’s phone. In the video, the officer is heard telling White that he was being arrested for violating a loud noise ordinance — for “squealing his tires” — and will also be charged with resisting arrest. Feaman now faces felony charges of assault and armed criminal action, along with a lawsuit in federal court alleging excessive force. Feaman’s last day at the department was January 16, a police spokeswoman said.

A few months after the incident, White’s lawyer Jermaine Wooten was trying to get his client’s resisting arrest charge resolved through the St. Louis City Counselor’s Office — because it was deemed a city ordinance violation. That’s when Wooten was presented with a release form.

In order for the municipal prosecutors to consider dismissing the charge, White was told he had to sign a form agreeing that he would never file a lawsuit against any city or police department employee related to the arrest. Wooten had seen the form before and previous clients had signed it. But it didn’t pique his suspicions until it was presented in White’s case.

“That’s when we started asking, ‘Why would he have to sign that if you’ve seen the video?” said co-attorney Daniel Dailey, of Kingdom Litigators, a public interest law firm. “And that’s when prosecutors explained that ‘this is just our policy.’ Most secrets are in plain sight. And this one here was very well known to everyone. It never dawned on anyone that the blanket policy and practice was illegal.”

Wooten and Dailey began putting the pieces together from previous cases. 

What they learned is that since about 2009, the City Counselor’s Office, which is now led by Julian Bush, has been requiring those charged with resisting arrest to sign the same agreement White was presented with in order to get it dismissed or dropped to a lesser charge. The policy is known as the “Rec,” they stated in a lawsuit filed on White’s behalf on Feb. 26.

In a statement to The St. Louis American, Bush said, “I deny that the City Counselor’s office has been using an illegal blanket policy in resisting arrest charges, and I can tell you that I certainly have never made a policy that charges of resisting arrest and interfering with arrest cannot be dismissed or plea bargained without execution of a release if circumstances suggest that this would be a just or expedient result.” 

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