Surveillance footage released Tuesday showed how quickly gas station small talk between a store regular and a St. Louis police officer escalated into two fights.
The footage KPLR-TV obtained showed Bryan Boyle reaching over an unidentified officer in plainclothes to get a drink Boyle had purchased last Thursday at a gas station and Crown Food Mart convenience store.
The store is located in north St. Louis.
In video clips KPLR pieced together, the officer can be seen in his duty belt grabbing Boyle’s free hand as he was using the other to collect change from the cashier for the purchase he made.
The officer had pulled out a Taser and handcuffs and was trying to arrest Boyle when the video showed he was able to grab one of the officer’s wrists to stop the arrest.
At that point, video showed the officer using handcuffs to beat Boyle in the face. The cop is seen swinging on Boyle at least seven times using either his fists or handcuffs in each blow.
Then, video showed the men separating and another altercation following.
The two men wrestled to the floor where KPLR reported that the officer appeared to put the store regular in a headlock.
Still, the video showed Boyle ending up on top of the officer.
When other officers dispatched to the scene arrived, Boyle quickly put his arm up to be arrested, the video showed.
Aamer Abusaid, the manager of the Crown Food Mart, told KPLR the customer had only asked the officer about being a cop. Abusaid said he doesn’t see how that could have provoked the officer.
“He asked him a question,” Abusaid said. “I guess the officer got offended about the question.”
Although KPLR hasn’t identified either men involved because no charges have been filed, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch identified Boyle in a story published Saturday.
Boyle told the newspaper he was chatting casually with the officer moments before the encounter escalated.
“He tells me I’m in his personal space, but I was like, ‘How am I in your personal space when the cashier is serving me?’” Boyle said. “The next thing I know, he shoved me, pulled out his Taser and put it on the counter and starts telling me to put my hands behind my back, and he just starts beating me in my face with his handcuffs.”
The video did not show Boyle swinging back at the officer.
“If I would have fought back, he would have said he was in fear for his life and he could have killed me,” Boyle told the Post-Dispatch. “I was just trying to ask him, ‘What did I do to you?’ But something told me, ‘Do not swing back,’ because I would have been dead and wouldn’t nobody have known what happened.”
Boyle’s attorney has not yet responded to Atlanta Black Star’s request for comment in the incident.