Friday, September 14, 2007

Sgt. James Kuehnlein Busted by Brett Darrow, College Student Update: 9-20 Andrew Meyer


Countless times, a police web cam has nailed drunk drivers who claim they acted perfectly suburban sober. Recently, a college kid's own video has nailed Officer Kuehnlein, a St. Louis police sergeant, for threatening to invent charges against him.

Brett Darrow, a 20 year old St Louis college student, pulled into a parking lot at 2 a.m. on Sept. 7. Sgt. James Kuehnlein angrily approached him.

Brett Darrow documented the exchange with Sgt. James Kuehnlein with a dashboard videocamera. He posted the video online Saturday. "I wanted everybody to see that this kind of stuff does happen," Darrow told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. When Darrow asks whether he did anything wrong, the officer orders him out of the car and begins shouting. "You want to try me? You want to try me tonight? You think you have a bad night? I will ruin your night. Do you want to try me tonight, young boy... Do you want to go to jail for some (expletive) reason I come up with?" the police officer said.

Update 9-19-07: While Brett Darrow's scary video may capture an award, Andrew Meyer's video is just plain horrifying. Andrew, 21, was at a John Kerry speech. Apparently because he was refused to leave the microphone after his allotted time was up. Apparently four officers struggled with him and he is heard to say, "Don't Tase me, bro." He was not only arrested by University of Florida police, he was also tasered by one of the officers! On top of the tasering, he spent a night in jail. His attorney, Robert Griscti, has not officially commented but Meyer's video of the event most likely speaks for itself! Meyers is charged with disturbing the peace and resisting law enforcement officers.
Update 9-20-07: Glenn Beck apparently takes issue with Legal Pub majority opinion that Andrew Meyer did not deserve to be tasered. Glenn, come and please elaborate on Legal Pub.
UPDATE 10-10 Officer
James Kuehnlein has apparently been terminated from employment!

Update 7-13-11: Brett Darrow filed a federal lawsuit against James Kuehnlein and the City. COMPLAINT. Here is a link to Kuehnlein's answer to the complaint. LINK. Here is a web blog that purports to have Brett Darrow's comments about the original incident. LINK. Apparently the law suit was settled pursuant to some confidential agreement prior to March of 2009.

"I have agreed to settle my civil rights lawsuit. Of course, as part of the agreement they said I can’t say anything about it other than what they say in public. Lets just say I’m satisfied... " LINK.

56 comments:

Jac said...

Ridiculous! This cop needs some anger management training.

Jac

brenda said...

I like the phrase "perfectly suburban sober" as I imagine the little suburban housewife driving down the road...

Brenda

Anonymous said...

just plain scary.

Anonymous said...

sounds like the KGB from Rushia.

Ms. Calabaza said...

you know, I bet this stuff does go on sometimes . . . scary thing what power can do to some people.

blond bombshell said...

Lots of power in an undercompensated employee in a position of authority is a recipe for disaster.


Shell

Anonymous said...

Paradise, I mean Hell By the Dashboard Lights

Meatloaf revisited

Anonymous said...

No wonder I could not sleep last night!

Ron said...

I listened and watched all three of the youtube videos on this case. First, the kid is not a choir boy, and probably could have acted better when dealing with a police officer at 2am. Second, the police officer is so far out of line, I would be really surprised if he has a job as a cop next week. He should definitely (100%) be fired based on the recorded information. For some reason, the video has an annoying ticking sound, so it's hard to watch.

Legal Pub said...

It is not relevant whether the victim was squeaky clean. Police misconduct like this is not to be excepted. Perhaps the cop had a bad day. We all say things we should not. But the bottom line is, being an officer carries with it a huge responsibility and a great deal of trust. This cop screwed up that morning big time...

Ron said...

Yes, yes, yes, Pubmeister, I was just pointing out my thoughts on the victim, OK?

Also, there are reports out there that James Kuehnlein's boss has a checkered past in law enforcement, so this raises doubt over whether the disciplining will be evenhanded. This will be an interesting case to watch.

Legal Pub said...

Ron, you are correct that the victim was not a choir boy. I am certain you did not mean that he deserved the treatment that he received. However, some law enforcement personnel might rationalize that "any" means justifies the end. In the legal profession, if officers, prosecutors, attorneys, judges and juries become clouded with the victim's past, justice could become a predetermined outcome. That is one reason why an officer needs probable cause to detain someone...

L.S. where are your comments on this one?

Anonymous said...

The issue though is that the police and the justice system have to do it right for two main reasons. 1) If they do it right, then we can be assured that the system is fair and that when a real choirboy (or any of us) gets accused of something he didn't do the system will be fair and 2) we don't want criminals released on technicalities because some cop did something stupid like getting himself taped saying something dumb.

Jack from Florida said...

I have been following this incident the last few weeks and have been quite disturbed by it. I have not found any evidence as to whether or not Darrow has any sort of checked past, period. (Ron, you are correct that the victim was not a choir boy.)If someone has evidence to the contrary, please post it for me. I do think this is a reflection of the systematic reduction of civil rights in this countrt. It may be time to urge people to once again stand up for their civil liberties that are being eroded. The notion that "if you have done nothing wrong then you have nothing to worry about" is refuted by Darrow in at least two videotaped incidents. If one needs any further proof, refer to the Duke Lacross case where a politian was willing to send three people who he knew were innocent in order to win an election. Be afraid, people, be very afraid.

Jack from Florida said...

proofread corrections:
"If one needs any further proof, refer to the Duke Lacross case where a polititian was willing to send three people [to jail] who he knew were innocent in order to win an election."

Legal Pub said...

Jack from Florida, Your comments are on target. Without due process and an assumption of innocence, our system of justice will not work. These fundamental principals are threatened when a bad acting cop threatens to invent charges. Or perhaps even when prosecutors over charge a suspect (perhaps like in O.J.'s recent run in with the law) with the intent that he will plea down to a lesser offense.

Maybe the solution is to not only have Big Brother watching, but to have someone watching Big Brother. The advent of phone cameras and video may make this possible. Of course, the risk is sacrificing some privacy of everyone. The question is whether people want to have the the whole world on satellite t.v.

Anonymous said...

This whole incident is real disturbing to me.


Javier

Anonymous said...

Issue is, they can frame you with dope, or DNA or anything else they want....

colleency said...

The incident of the UF student who was tasered is very disturbing - He was loud, and didn't know when to be quiet - but it didn't look in any way like he was resisting arrest once he was on the ground -

Seemed excessive use of force to me.

And so disturbing to hear the student keep asking 'What did I do? Why are you arresting me? What did I do?'

It just seems like such disregard of freedom of speech. Disturbing and frightening.

Legal Pub said...

The U.F. Student tazering is very disappointing. I will try to post an update on this as it some what relates to Brett Darrow's run in with authority.

Ron said...

Clarification for Jack: It is Sgt. Kuehnlein's boss who has a checkered past, not Darrow. The Chief of Police in this little town was apparently disciplined for some prior police work when he was aggressive with a young lady.

On the tasering incident, this deserves an entire post. Strange to taser when you have him under control and on the ground. And Kerry was trying to answer the questions anyway, so why take him out?

rodney said...

The smart mouth young whipper snapper was begging to be tasered. He is lucky he was not blasted too! His web site is full of video and theatrics. This is just one stunt that back fired.


Rodney

colleency said...

Agreed that the kid is a loud mouth punk (anyone who'd stand on a busy street corner holding the ending to the Harry Potter book is just plain mean!) - Not the issue -

From what I saw on the video, he didn't deserve to be tasered. His history of theatrics doesn't matter - the police didn't know of it- They reacted to what was happening at that moment. (as they should.)

And, at the time, he didn't need to be tasered.

IMHO.

Legal Pub said...

Glenn Beck gave his viewers the impression that Andrew Meyer deserved to be tasered for resisting arrest. Glenn, why don't you elaborate a little more here on legal pub?

Jill said...

Come on Mr. Glenn Beck, post your thoughts and prove Dollar Bill wrong!

Jill

Dollar Bill said...

Jill, I think Legal Pub edited my post. I will repeat it in case Legal Pub deleted it in error. I said that Glenn Beck is unlikely to respond. Legal Pub has only 1000's of readers and as a big "t.v." star he will not waste his time on such a "small audience." It does not matter that Legal Pub readers have more "star power" than his t.v. audience because it is all about the money. That is my opinion, Dr. Bill

Anonymous said...

Sgt. Kuehnlein needs a long vacation to get control of himself.

Anonymous said...

Just another example for the new T.V. series "Cops Gone Wild" video...

Anonymous said...

This should be an example in the academy of what not to do!

Anonymous said...

I think it is used now as an example, at least in some of the academies.

hun said...

Kuehnlein is an example of a cop wound too tight who in the end lost it all!



Hun

Anonymous said...

Stay away from the light...

You are being video taped!

Anonymous said...

Gotcha. You're on candid camera!

Anonymous said...

Cops like this can give all cops a bad name!

Anonymous said...

You do not have to be a cop to be a jerk!

Anonymous said...

Court records may show Kuehnlein himself pleaded guilty of assault and stealing in two different cases, in 1988 and 1990. He apparently successfully petitioned a judge in St. Louis County in 1998 to expunge his criminal record. A judge apparently ordered those records sealed and records of an acquittal for drunk driving and an alleged assault charge which was apparently dropped.

Proves that innocent until proven guilty theory may help land a job with the cops.

Anonymous said...

Figures, Kuehnlein is a d*ck. You just don't become a d*ck overnight.

Anonymous said...

Cop with diarrhea of the mouth = bad news!

Anonymous said...

All motorists. Protect yourself with your own video recordings!

Legal Pub said...

You may vote for this story as Legal Pub story of the year by sending an email to

legalpub@legalpub.net

Anonymous said...

"you want to try me, young boy?"

Anonymous said...

He ought to get together with the "Don't taser me bro" young man and form their own film company.

Anonymous said...

Both muscle head cops...

Anonymous said...

Any one can have a bad day or make a mistake...

Anonymous said...

A cop, so busted!

Anonymous said...

over reaction at its worst...

Anonymous said...

Feel sorry for the cop, they are none intelligent, kind of retarded with not even high school diploma.. what do you expect from an ignorant person? If he would be smart he wouldn’t be working as a cop...
Unless it’s a lawyer workings as a cop, but then again he wouldn’t be screaming like a retard…

Anonymous said...

Not all cops are dumb. In fact, many are very smart and motivated in their profession by their desire to help others. Be fair.

Anonymous said...

Two years later and still the poster boy bad cop?

Anonymous said...

Blame the victim is common. Abusive cop behavior is common, taping it is rare. Where are they today? Thank you.
O'town Lawyer

Updater said...

well cop is no longer a cop. the kid is a bit older and hopefully a bit wiser.

Law Dog said...

Brett Darrow's filed a federal lawsuit in St. Louis using lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union. The suit asked for unspecified compensatory and punitive damages from the city of St. George, former police Sgt. James Kuehnlein and an unidentified officer who arrived on the scene.

The complaint originally alleged civil rights violations including assault, battery and Darrow's false imprisonment when police refused to let him leave.

Observer said...

Seems like a fair resolution, got some type of settlement and the cop got terminated.In fact I think the whole city police department got shut down.

Filming your own stop should not be a crime, it should be considered a good check and balance to prevent abuse.

Anonymous said...

Film / video is a great check of balance on the raw force that police can some times exhert. Call it a great equalizer.

Anonymous said...

There are good and bad officers, just like there are good and bad people. The bottom line is that mistakes will be made. What is done with those mistakes is what defines a person. Best of luck to both Darrow and Kuehnlein.

Anonymous said...

There are good and bad officers, just like there are good and bad people. The bottom line is that mistakes will be made. What is done with those mistakes is what defines a person. Best of luck to both Darrow and Kuehnlein.