I’d like to introduce you to Brett Darrow, a mild mannered community college student in St. Louis, Missouri and victim of abuse of police powers. We’ve done stories before about douches like Andrew Meyer who are out looking to make a scene, but this is different. Brett appears to be the honest target and victim of police who want to abuse their power.
It all started in 2006 when Brett received a speeding ticket which he thought was unfair. Since he had no evidence, he decided to install a video camera in his car just in case something like this happened again. Little did he now the saga of police drama it would help him document. Since that day Mr. Darrow has recorded a number of obvious instances of abuse of police power, and he is unfortunately paying the price for his efforts.
In December 2006, he caught on record the first, and least severe, instance of abuse. Having been stopped at a drunk driving road block the officer asks for his license and registration, and Mr. Darrow complies. However when the officer asks where he is headed, a question which is inappropriate to ask in the first place, Mr. Darrow politely declines to answer. The officer detains him illegally, and briefly confiscates his vehicle. When asked why he is being detained he is told:
You better stop runnin your mouth or the other officer will find a reason to lock you up tonight.”
Other than possible damage to his car (the confiscating officer couldn’t drive stick), the night passes without much more abuse, due to Mr. Darrow indicating the conversation was being recorded. But this was only the beginning of Mr. Darrow’s troubles. Earlier this month, on September 10th, Mr. Darrow had another run in with the police. This time in a commuter parking lot where he had arranged to meet his girlfriend to collect some keys he had accidentally left behind. A cop comes over to see what he is doing, and when Mr. Darrow asks what he has done wrong, the cop gets angry culminating in a threat to make up charges:
Do you want to go to jail for some ****ing reason I come up with? …I bet I could say you resisted arrest or something. You want to come up with something? I come up with nine things. Do you wanna try something?
Everything recorded on video, Mr. Darrow submits his evidence to the St. Louis Police Department and the officer is placed on unpaid suspension. By this point, however, things have become more serious, and Mr. Darrow appears to have gained the ire of the whole police department, leading to a death threat being made against him on a police forum. In addition to this death threat, police have been staking out his home, waiting for him on his street. His neighbors have confirmed police near the house at all hours of the day and night.
Epilogue: There is some recent good news in this story. Earlier this week, the officer who abused his power in the commuter parking lot has been fired. Here’s hoping that casting a little more light on this story will make things even brighter for Mr. Darrow.