The Missouri Supreme Court holds that punching, spitting, and cursing at a handcuffed arrestee is excessive force.
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The Missouri Supreme Court holds that punching, spitting, and cursing at a handcuffed arrestee is excessive force.

Date: March 17, 2009
By: Elizabeth Billingsley
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: Charges of excessive force against a Kansas City police officer were upheld by the Missouri Supreme Court.

RunTime:
OutCue: SOC

The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a police tape of a 2003 arrest shows excessive force by Kansas City police officer Timothy Coffer. In September 2003, Coffer stopped Halgene Lucas on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. The state's highest court viewed the arrest video and ruled unanimously, saying it shows Coffer repeatedly punching Lucas, dropping him face down onto the pavement, and spitting on him -- all while Lucas was handcuffed and restrained. The Court upheld the decision to terminate Coffer for excessive force. John O'Connor is Coffer's attorney and disputes the Court's interpretation of the police video.
Actuality:  OCONNOR.WAV
Run Time: 00:13
Description: "Obviously he believes that he did not use excessive force. I think the impetus for the real charge of moving to terminate him was that he had spit on a suspect and when you watch the videotape, he clearly does not."

O'Connor says Coffer is disappointed with the Court's decision, but respects the ruling.
From Jefferson City, I'm Elizabeth Billingsley.