ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–A man accused of punching two St. Louis City police officers in the face while resisting arrest gets two years probation — instead of the four months jail “shock time” the prosecutor wanted.
“This seems to be part of a pattern that’s developing of light sentences for folks who assault law enforcement,” said Jeff Roorda, Business Representative of the St. Louis Police Officer’s Association.
The defendant — 31-year old Roy Near Jr. — was accused of punching a female officer in the face after she saw him pushing a woman against a brick wall downtown in June of 2010.
Court records indicate the female officer ordered Neal to step away from the woman, and fired mace at him when he approached “with a clenched fish.” Pursuing Neal on foot, the officer radioed for help and reported seeing the suspect and the woman get on a bus.
When a second officer — a man — got on the bus and ordered Neal to the ground, he allegedly lunged at the officer, tackling him to the floor of the bus and then punched him several times. Neal eventually was beaten with batons and stunned with a taser before he was arrested, according to court records.
Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce had recommended a sentence of 120 days jail shock time, but Judge Thomas Frawley gave Neal probation.
“There has to be outcomes, there has to be consequences for individuals,” said police Chief Sam Dotson, “and society has to hold them accountable. What kind of message does this send to our police officers?”
Court records show Neal had one prior offense, a conviction for stealing over $500 in 2006. For that, he had received three years probation.
In January, police expressed outrage when Judge Calea Stovall-Reid sentenced a man who fired shots at police to four years in prison, instead of the twenty year sentence sought by the prosecutor.
Hood later received an extra eight years sentence — tacked on because he was violating and earlier probation when he shot at police.