|Missouri: Police Stake Out Brett Darrow Home
Saint Louis, Missouri police stake out the home of young motorist whose video of an out-of-control police officer garnered international attention.
TheNewspaper.com | September 26, 2007
A young Saint Louis, Missouri motorist faces trouble with local police upset at the national attention his September 7 video of an out-of-control officer has drawn to ongoing problems within area law enforcement agencies. On Sunday, Brett Darrow filmed a Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department cruiser staking out his home.
"It was the first time I've seen it," Darrow told TheNewspaper. "But my neighbor said he's seen a lot of police down our dead end street since all of this happened."
When Darrow walked outside to his 1997 Nissan Maxima, he noticed two officers sitting in a marked squad car, numbered 65. There is little question as to why the officers were there.
"As I got into the car, he started to pull up the street and he and his partner just stared me down," Darrow explained.
The patrol car drove away as Darrow started his car and followed. Because his camera had been set to capture night-time footage, the first 45 seconds of the video is obscured. It does, however, capture the police car making questionable turning maneuvers in order to get away. Members of the police community are on the record regarding their desire to stake out Darrow's home and harass the twenty-year-old. In late June, users of St. Louis CopTalk, an unofficial forum for Saint Louis area law enforcement, posted Darrow's home address along with messages containing apparent death threats in retaliation for the young motorist's taping of a DUI roadblock in November and a traffic ticket in June. One CopTalk user repeating the address wrote, "Every copper, City and County, should etch this little punks [sic] name in their [sic] memory. Brett Darrow, [address deleted], city of St. Louis." (View screen capture of post)
This month, however, scandals within the Saint Louis Police Department which otherwise would have been a local story, gathered national attention and fueled additional resentment. Some $40,000 in cash turned up "missing" from the police evidence room on September 17. The city of St. George was forced to fire Sergeant James Kuehnlein for his threat to "come up with reasons" to "lock up" Darrow. An investigation into whether Kuehnlein's actions merit criminal charges is under way. Darrow met on Monday with a Saint Louis County Police Department detective.
"I quickly learned that this was about finding something I did wrong and not the officer," Darrow said.
Despite the official harassment, Darrow has been comforted by an unexpected level of support from the general public. Motorists who recognized him from various television interviews have stopped to thank him or give him the "thumbs up." A judge also dropped charges from the June traffic stop after a Saint Louis police officer failed to show up at a trial where Darrow had been prepared to defend himself with video evidence.