ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The video that launched a St. Paul police investigation was shot by an auto mechanics student named Lord Stitts.
Stitts says he was walking with his best friend Eric Hightower Tuesday evening when a police car drove across the grass through Lewis Park. "That's when he pulled up, jumped out with his Mace in his hand and just walked up Macing."
Stitts says he grabbed his phone and started recording, as Hightower fell to the ground. "You see he's clearly choking on the mace, not resisting arrest or anything - kicked him in the face for no reason. Nobody can understand why he would do that."
Stitts points to a spot in the video where the arresting officer appears to punch the handcuffed Hightower in the face, before two officers forcibly push Hightower's head into the hood of a squad car. "You catch that," says Stitts. "Slams him on the car."
Stitts says he's most puzzled by the officer's apparent demeanor after the kick. "Watch his face; he's laughing, smiling," he says, referring to the video. "I mean, it's crazy."
Stitts insists he's seen similar actions by St. Paul police officers in the past. "It goes around all the time, but it's real, real seldom that someone actually catches it on camera. "Video don't lie, he says. "I just want the world to see."
Stitts says he didn't try to conceal the fact that he was shooting video. In fact, he felt at one point that the officer was looking right at him. He didn't wait around to ask questions after Hightower was taken away in a police car, deciding it was best to leave the neighborhood.
Stitts abruptly ended the interview when a St. Paul police car drove past. "I'm done. I don't want to do this no more," he said, citing fears of police retaliation. "I don't want no problems."
But his video is already speaking louder than his words.
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