01/31/2006

Police videotaped hitting Missouri chase suspect

By JIM SALTER
Associated Press Writer

ST. LOUIS- Police were videotaped punching and kicking a suspect after a car chase Monday, and officials are investigating to determine whether the four officers involved acted illegally.

Live television showed much of the chase, as well as officers apparently beating the man for several seconds. What could not be clearly seen on the video was how much the suspect was resisting.

The chase began in the St. Louis suburb of Maplewood, after officers said they noticed a man in a van acting suspiciously. It ended in St. Louis.

KTVI-TV video showed the suspect, Edmond Burns, 33, bloodied. He was hospitalized, but his condition was unknown. He had not been charged Monday, and he was not available for comment.

The four officers are white, and the suspect is black. The area NAACP chapter has asked that the officers be suspended until the investigation is complete.

Three of the officers work for Maplewood and the other for St. Louis, officials said. Their names were not released.

Maplewood Police Chief James White, speaking at a news conference, cautioned against jumping to conclusions.

"The question is, is the force appropriate for the situation?" White said. "Is it appropriate for the resistance? I don't know any of that."

The officers' attorney Chet Pleban noted the realities of police work: "The fact of the matter is, it's a violent job."

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Associated Press writer Betsy Taylor in St. Louis contributed to this report.

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