Dash cam

Arrested councilman says dash cam, body video shows SLMPD officer acted improperly during traffic stop

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – A local elected official has been pulled over for speeding. But he says it’s what happened next that should put the officer in hot water.

St. Louis Alderman Joe Vaccaro says he was surprised to see blue lights last month near Jefferson on I-44. He says he was chosen because of his new high-end truck with fancy tires.

“If I went in a Porsche versus a Pinto, they would probably choose the Porsche,” he said.

He says he parked in a safe space, then waited a while.

“I got out of my car and he said ‘get back in your car’, which I did. I followed that order,” Vaccaro said.

But his problem, he said, was with the officer’s conduct to his window.

“The guy is coughing all over me with nowhere to run. I asked to get him tested, and I asked him to get tested for COVID, and it looked like there was something going on,” Vaccaro said.

Aggravated, Vaccaro told the officer he should wear his mask.

“I told him I was going to talk to the colonel and the chief,” Vaccaro said.

“Were you trying to use your position as a public official to get out of that ticket?” asked chief investigative reporter Lauren Trager.

“No, not at all,” Vaccaro said.

Vaccaro eventually got two tickets, one for going 76mph in a 60mph zone and the other for no proof of insurance, which he says the agent inappropriately wrote to him before he could show his insurance card.

“I think he’s just an a**hole,” Vaccaro said.

“No one can claim you were an a**hole to them, can they?” Trager asked.

“I don’t think they could honestly, I would have to see the tape to tell you the truth,” Vaccaro said.

News 4 was told there was also dash cam video of the traffic stop and body camera video worn by the officer. But police say it is part of an ongoing investigation and will not release a copy.

“I absolutely think it should be released,” said Sunshine Law expert and attorney David Roland.

Roland says the police could definitely release it so the public can see everyone’s actions.

“I think we need more access to these videos, not less and I think the sooner the better,” Roland said.

“I’m not stupid enough to know they don’t have a camera. So, I’m not going to say anything too crazy,” Vaccaro said.

Vaccaro repeats that he didn’t try to get out of the ticket.

“I would be okay with this tape coming out because you’ll see how rude he was. Not disrespectful, just rude,” Vaccaro said.

And this is where the story takes another turn. Vaccaro received a call that the officer had tested positive for COVID in a rapid test.

“What is the procedure for that? There must be a procedure, that was my concern,” Vaccaro said.

And then later he says he got another call, this time from Chief John Hayden.

The boss called and said Joe, “I’ll take care of that ticket, don’t worry”, and I said, “Boss, I’m not worried about the ticket, I’m upset about the mask” , Vaccaro said.

Like any other citizen, he said he would just challenge the ticket in court. A few days later, Vaccaro says the officer’s PCR test results eventually came back negative, but Vaccaro said it was too late because he had already canceled a vacation. He intends to file a formal complaint against the agent.

Police sent a statement saying they would not comment on a personnel matter.

We also asked about the chef’s offer to fix the ticket. The department said: “The ticket was not rejected. However, we will not comment further on this. »

Meanwhile, Vaccaro has also requested the video and says when he gets it he will provide it to News 4 Investigates.