St. Louis security guard punches man lying on light rail platform, video shows

Jun 17, 2023, 12:55 PM

St. LOUIS (AP) — A security guard for the St. Louis light rail system repeatedly punched in the head a man lying facedown on a busy platform, as nearby commuters recorded video and shouted for him to stop.

The guard, who worked for a subcontractor, has since been “removed from duty,” said Kevin Scott, general manager of security at Bi-State Development, which operates Metro Transit, in a written statement Saturday.

“Metro Transit does not condone unprofessional and extreme actions regardless of circumstances,” he said, adding that the agency is assisting police with their investigation.

Obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, bystander video from Friday shows the guard in a black and yellow uniform standing with one foot on either side of the man, who is lying on his stomach trying weakly to shield his head with his hands. The guard bends down and hits the man in the head three times with a closed fist.

Both the officer and the man who was punched are Black.

One person can be heard saying, “He’s not hurting you right now.” Another person yells, “Stop, stop man!” The officer shouts at the man, “I asked you for your hands behind your back.”

“He was not moving. He was not resisting,” said Michael Hamtil, a daily MetroLink rider who is an assistant multimedia director at the Post-Dispatch. He witnessed the episode and recorded video.

In another video obtained by the media outlet, the guard who punched the man can be heard yelling at bystanders that the man “put his hands on a woman.” He shouts, “That’s your momma, your sister, anything!”

That second video also shows the guard push away a concerned female guard as the man lies cuffed on the ground, another guard tending to him. Liquid that appeared to contain blood was pooled around the man’s head.

Paramedics responded, but the status of the beaten man was not immediately known.

Train rider Tim Orange, who also shot video, said he was “disturbed completely.”

Witnesses told the Post-Dispatch that the episode began at around 7 p.m. when two men were passed out on the train and vomiting. Security guards walked onto the train when it arrived at the MetroLink station north of Forest Park, a popular 1,300-acre area that houses the city’s zoo, a science center and museums.

But one of the men suddenly got up, screaming, rushed off the train and ran headfirst into the side of another MetroLink train, Hamtil said.

The man fell again, and Orange said the man got up and tried to put his arms around a female security guard in a bear hug fashion. She tried to push him away, and other security guards began trying to apprehend the man. That’s when the man was punched, witnesses said.

Witnesses said the guard also stomped the man, but that isn’t visible on the videos.

As the video ended, the man slowly begins to get up. Hamtil said other officers took the guard’s phone and badge and told him to leave the station or he was going to be arrested.

The second man was not seen in the witness videos and it was not clear what happened to him.

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St. Louis security guard punches man lying on light rail platform, video shows