This story has been revised to add a statement from Columbia police Public Information Officer Jessie Haden, who answered some questions Monday morning about the incident.
COLUMBIA — A Columbia man was Tasered and pepper sprayed by Columbia police while being arrested on suspicion of public urination and resisting arrest Saturday night.
Carl Alan Giles, 27, was arrested at 10:30 p.m. Saturday in an alley behind Cafe Berlin at 21 N. Providence Road. According to witnesses, most of whom are friends or family of Giles, an officer used pepper spray on Giles after he pulled his wrist from a police officer’s grasp. While Giles was restrained on the ground, three additional officers arrived at the scene, and a fifth officer arrived and shot Giles in the back with a Taser, activating the device twice, witnesses said.
Giles was taken to University Hospital after the incident and was released after less than an hour into police custody. He was freed on $1,000 bond before 1 a.m. Sunday. Giles said he is not ready to talk to the media about the incident and referred questions to Kylar Broadus, a Columbia lawyer. Giles said he has not hired Broadus but that the lawyer has been providing him with legal advice since friends called him shortly after Giles' arrest.
Broadus said early Sunday morning that the incident will be a “longer journey than just this evening. ... The Taser was unnecessarily used," he said.
On Monday, Columbia Police Department spokeswoman Officer Jessie Haden said the officer who made contact with Giles had been driving through the alley and observed Giles urinating. When the officer made contact with him, the officer said Giles denied that he had been urinating in the alley.
Haden said the officer then obtained Giles' identification to check for any possible warrants and to issue a citation. At that point, she said, Giles became uncooperative and began to "mimic" the officer, repeating the officer's words back to the officer as they were said.
When the officer went to check Giles' identification, Haden said, Giles approached the patrol car. After ordering Giles to stand back, the officer decided to put Giles in handcuffs as a "safety concern." Haden said the officer had one handcuff on Giles, and said the officer said that Giles began to try and fight the officer.
Haden said the officer used pepper spray on Giles but that he continued to resist. When additional units arrived after the officer made an emergency call, the Taser was used on Giles. Haden said the incident was under investigation.
Haden's statement was the first from police since the Saturday night incident, though attempts were made throughout Sunday to obtain comments from Deputy Chief Tom Dresner and Chief Ken Burton.
According to the Police Executive Research Forum's Taser policy guidelines, which were adopted by Columbia police, Tasers should not be used against a passive subject. Another guideline states that a subject who has been Tasered should receive medical evaluation.
Cafe Berlin was hosting shows by several local bands on Saturday night, and Giles was in attendance with several family members and friends. Alcohol was being served.
Brian Drewery, a Columbia resident who said he is friends with Giles' family but has only met Giles a few times, said he and up to three other people were in the alley when Giles was urinating and an officer made initial contact with him. The other people in the alley were mutual friends of Drewery and Giles. Drewery said that when Giles turned his back to the officer to say something to the group, the officer grabbed Giles' wrist and told him he was under arrest.
Drewery said Giles pulled his hand from the officer's grasp, at which point the officer pushed Giles against the wall of the alley, directed pepper spray at the right side of his face and brought him to the ground. The officer held him there while he called for backup. At that point, Drewery said, Giles was not resisting. Then, three more officers arrived on the scene. He said another officer soon appeared and shot Giles in the back with a Taser while he was on the ground and restrained by officers.
Daniel Giles, Carl Giles' brother, said he went into the alley after learning that his brother was involved in a confrontation with police. He said the officer "manhandled" his brother and pushed him into the wall of the alley and used the pepper spray.
Daniel Giles said the officer had Carl Giles on the ground and called for backup. When other officers arrived, one officer pointed his Taser at Carl Giles' back and activated the device. He said his brother's hands were behind his back when the Taser was used and that he heard one officer say "Taser" twice before activating the device.
One of the Police Executive Research Forum's guidelines states that an officer about to deploy a Taser should warn someone unless it would put any other person at risk.
In a video recorded by Jessica Giles, Carl Giles' sister, after Carl Giles had been Tasered, at least 10 officers can be observed at the scene. Three or four of the officers can be seen attempting to lift Carl Giles to his feet, but he appears unable to stand on his own. The other officers can be seen standing between the crowd that had gathered and the arrest scene. People in the crowd — including brothers and sisters of Giles — can be heard shouting at the officers.
Carl Giles filed an official complaint with the department on Sunday.
Broadus said the level of force used by police in the incident was "excessive."
"We are concerned it amplified to that level of use of force in such a short period of time," he said.
Broadus said he knew Carl Giles before the incident and described him as a "non-violent person."
Giles has no criminal record in Missouri, according to Missouri Case.net.
Chance Kramer, an employee at Cafe Berlin who also said Carl Giles is his friend, said he was in charge of selling drinks at the event. He said he sold Carl Giles two beers, and that while Carl Giles was in the restaurant, he was not acting in a confrontational or violent manner.
Kramer described the atmosphere at the event on Saturday night as "relaxed" and said he had never seen or heard of any kind of physical altercations occurring at the restaurant.
Kramer said as many as 50 people had gathered outside by the time Carl Giles was taken away by an ambulance.