Police officers in St. Louis County, Missouri, issued an apology after they admitted to beating and handcuffing an innocent young Black college student in the midst of a high-speed car chase on Thursday.
Cringe-worthy photos of 22-year-old Joseph Swink’s bloodied face have hit the Web after police officers admitted they attacked him in what they say was a cloud of chaos and confusion.
The college junior was trying to get out of the officers’ way as they pursued another suspect in a high-speed chase.
Somewhere along the way, Swink ended up crashing his own vehicle, which immediately went up in smoke after the crash.
Swink ran away from the car, not sure if the cloud of smoke meant that a fiery blast was on the way, and officers followed after him.
Despite the officers’ claims that they used “minimal force” when they finally caught up with Swink and put him in handcuffs, the side of the young man’s face was scarred and bloody after the encounter.
That’s when a call over the officers’ radios changed everything.
Other officers reported that the actual suspect, Anton Simmons, was long gone.
Simmons was wanted on 17 criminal warrants.
Swink tried to explain to the officers that he had done nothing wrong, but St. Ann police chief Aaron Jimenez said the officers couldn’t hear him at the time.
“They ended up grabbing him, tossing him to the ground, and were trying to handcuff him,” Jimenez told a CBS station. “All the sirens and lights were going off. It was very loud and they couldn’t hear anything the citizen was saying.”
Many social media users were quick to question why the officers couldn’t hear Swink but were able to hear their radios just fine.
The officers said race played no part in the incident, but Swink thinks otherwise.
“I never really had 100 percent trust in police before,” he told KMOV. “But I really don’t now.”
He added that there was “nobody Black on the scene” and said he “didn’t feel safe around” the officers.
“I think they probably felt they could get away with it because I was [Black] and they can do this,” he added.
Swink’s fears were justified considering where he was.
Only a few miles away is the city of Ferguson, Missouri, where police officers have a nasty history of racially charged attacks against Black men.
While many people didn’t know much about Ferguson until the death of unarmed teen Michael Brown back in August, the city’s racist history extends back much further than 2014.
Back in 2009, Ferguson officers made headlines after they mistakenly arrested one Black man and beat him mercilessly.
To make matters worse, they then charged the man with destruction of property because his blood got on their uniforms.
As for Swink, he has no criminal record and is studying accounting at his school.
Officers eventually caught up with Simmons and arrested him.