A St. Louis County, Missouri police chief has apologized after officers chased down, badly injured, and arrested an innocent and unarmed African-American man they mistook for a suspect officers were chasing.
As 22-year-old Joseph Swink was returning from an internship at Edward Jones, a car St. Ann police were pursuing — one that contained the actual suspect, who was wanted for 17 warrants — clipped Swink’s vehicle before crashing into a ditch.
The suspect was arrested at the scene of the crash, but a second police car arrived as the college student was fleeing his vehicle, which was filling with smoke.
The three newly arrived Caucasian detectives did not bother to check the situation. Instead, seeing a black man running away from a vehicle, the detectives assumed that Jones was the man they were seeking — and that encounter left Jones’ face badly injured.
In an attempt to justify the detectives’ actions, St. Ann Police Chief, Aaron Jimenez, offered this half-assed “apology”:
Most of the time when you see that you know this is the bad guy. He’s running. Unfortunately, he was a citizen.
I do apologize. As the police chief who runs this city, I do apologize to Mr. Swink that this has happened.
Swink says he was very afraid, and that he is glad to be alive to tell the tale.
“I’m just glad that I’m still here,” he told Fox 2. He says that he feels his race had a lot to do with that through which he suffered:
There was nobody black on the scene, just a lot of white cops. I didn’t feel safe around them. I think they probably felt they could get away with it because I was and they can probably do this.
Jiminez, however, maintains that “This has zero to do about race.” The three detectives will not be punished for roughing up and arresting an innocent man because, Jimenez says, they were acting “in good faith.”
Swink says he is considering a civil lawsuit.
Watch a report on the attack below, via Fox 2.