Squad car footage of Eric Hightower's brutal arrest released; St. Paul cop reportedly fired [VIDEO]

Categories: Police, St. Paul
HightowerArrest.jpg
In this still from the squad footage, Hightower screams for help after he was repeatedly pepper sprayed. His cries went unanswered.
The Pioneer Press recently obtained squad car footage of the brutal arrest of Eric Hightower last August 28.

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The footage shows St. Paul officer Matthew Gorans dragging Hightower into the squad by his hair, then pepper spraying him in the ear. Later, while Hightower is being driven to jail, officer Jesse Zilge ignores his repeated agonized pleas for someone to wipe his face. Medical personnel suspect Hightower suffered a punctured eardrum during the struggle.

Here's the footage (most of the action takes place around the one-minute mark):



The chain of events immediately preceding the squad footage was also controversial, as Zilge was videotaped macing, kicking, and punching Hightower while he lay helplessly on a sidewalk.

Hightower was being arrested on suspicion of domestic assault. He pleaded guilty in May.

Zilge and Gorans were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in connection with the incident last November, but sources told the PiPress that following an internal investigation, St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith decided to fire Gorans and suspend Zilge for 30 days. Gorans and Smith are appealing those disciplinary measures through the union grievance process.

Representatives of the police union told the PiPress the video shows the arrest "out of context and apart from the rest of the investigation."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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15 comments
fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

We the People must stop deifying the police. They deserve to be held accountable for their actions and must not be exempt from public oversight.

helmut.thick
helmut.thick

He looked fine to me!  This is far from torture. Just another resisting POS off the streets!!!  Hope the cop gets his job back!!!

xxxerocool
xxxerocool

I don't care if he is a piece of shit, he was maced after he was in the car just to torture him on the ride. Are we okay, as a society, with the people we trust to protect us when we are at our most vulnerable torturing the people in their care? He sprayed that man with a chemical after he was in the car to what, get him in the car? No, he spayed him to cause pain knowing he would suffer the entire ride.

Chris Tierney
Chris Tierney

Hightower is a piece of shit. You get what you give. Try adding some background on this guy and then the cops to give a balanced story.

Nicholas S. Goers
Nicholas S. Goers

I don't see anything wrong with this video! Maybe the hair pulling to get him in the car, but being sprayed is going to happen if you're resisting. There has been a lot of poor police work coming out, but this isn't one of them. I would have done the same thing!

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@Chris Tierney what are you a cop? cop sympathizer?

HyperboleJoe
HyperboleJoe

@Chris Tierney You're right, he is a piece of shit, but we also get back how we treat people, even the worst ones.

HyperboleJoe
HyperboleJoe

@Nick Goers If you would have done the same thing then you would also make for a terrible police officer.

kennyX
kennyX

@HyperboleJoe : When police are dealing with the subhuman savage degenerate beast, they have to use any means possible to subdue it. The police did nothing wrong in this video.

allyourbasearebelong
allyourbasearebelong

@kennyX I guess I missed the part in parentheses that says "Eric Hightower, (subhuman, savage degenerate beast)"  I was under the impression this whole time he was a human male citizen of the united states with constitutional rights to due process. My bad, I missed that.  No wrong done here.

kennyX
kennyX

@HyperboleJoe Well, it probably won't ever happen to me because #1) I don't plan on doing anything illegal and #2), even if I were to get arrested for something, I wouldn't resist and try to fight back the cops because you know....when you do that, there is a good chance the cops will hand your ass over to you. 

HyperboleJoe
HyperboleJoe

@kennyX I'm well aware of your viewpoints, but I still hope you don't go through anything like this in your lifetime.

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