Four months after his violent arrest at a board of trustee meeting made national headlines, an adjunct instructor has won acquittal in court.
Steve Taylor, who taught math at St. Louis Community College, had risen to speak against a prohibition on clapping during the public comment portion of a trustee meeting at the college in October. But a St. Louis police officer violently tackled him from behind — and Taylor was then given citations for resisting arrest and disturbing the peace.
City prosecutors previously declined to pursue the case for resisting arrest (a fact perhaps attributed to the video released by the college, which shows Taylor stumbling forward, but in no way resisting). And today, Taylor won a "not guilty" verdict on the peace disturbance charge.
Both the officer who arrested Taylor and his supervisor testified for the prosecution, Taylor says. The judge also watched the video and heard testimony from two witnesses for the defense before issuing his verdict. (Taylor himself did not take the stand.)
Taylor described himself as simply "ecstatic."
"Today I was relieved that I wasn't going to be wrongfully convicted," he said. "It was great to see the court make the right ruling on this circumstance."
Sarah Fenske is the executive editor of the RFT and its sister papers. She is the former host of St. Louis on the Air and continues to host its Legal Roundtable, as well participating as an occasional panelist on Nine PBS' Donnybrook. She lives in St. Louis.