COLUMBIA – On Monday, the police chief presented to the Columbia City Council video recordings, as well as a written transcript, from an Aug. 1 incident in which police used a Taser on a Columbia man.
In a work session preceding the council’s regular meeting, Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton and Deputy Chief Tom Dresner played two videos recorded when an officer used a Taser on Carl Alan Giles, 27, in an alley behind Café Berlin, 21 N. Providence Road.
Giles was arrested that night on suspicion of public urination and resisting arrest.
The incident is part of an ongoing investigation being undertaken by the department’s Professional Standards Unit. City attorney Fred Boeckmann, who was present at the meeting, said charges have not been filed against Giles for public urination and resisting arrest. He also advised those present to withhold their opinions on the incident because of the ongoing investigation.
Giles said he was not urinating in the alley, according to previous Missourian reporting.
The first video shown was captured from the vehicle of Columbia Police Officer Jared Fielding, who first made contact with Giles while he appeared to be urinating in the alley. The officer and Giles cannot be seen in the video, but their conversation was picked up by the camera’s microphone.
According to a written transcript of the video, Fielding was running Giles’ identification through the computer in his car and is heard instructing Giles to “stand back.”
“Stand over there, dude,” Fielding said. “I don’t like you walking up on my car.”
Giles asked Fielding three times if he was under arrest, to which Fielding said he was not, but continued to tell Giles to stay away from his vehicle. Fielding repeated the command eight times during the exchange, and said to Giles, “You’re making me nervous,” according to the transcript.
“I understand I’m making you nervous, but that’s not against the law,” Giles said.
Fielding then replied: “Then it’s not illegal for me to detain you. Turn around.”
Fielding told Giles that he was being arrested for public urination and told Giles to “get on the ground” four times and also told Giles to “give me your hands.”
After that point, Fielding told Giles to “get on the ground” eight more times before a second officer arrives and fires the Taser at Giles, according to the transcript.
After the Taser was used, Giles was heard saying to members of his family, who were on the scene during the incident, to call Kylar Broadus, a Columbia lawyer and Giles’ stepfather.
Fielding used pepper spray on Giles during the incident, but it is not indicated in the transcript when the device was used, and the second video began recording the incident after the pepper spray was used.
The camera mounted in the second vehicle to arrive at the scene recorded the second video shown to the council. In the video, Giles can be seen kneeling with his face pointed downward, and a second officer arrives on the scene and fires the Taser at Giles. Giles fell to the ground, and an officer is seen on top of Giles.
Burton said the videos show that officers used “restraint” during the incident
“You have a zero percent chance of getting Tasered if you do what the officer says,” Burton said.
Ed Berg, a member of the Coalition to Control Tasers, was at the meeting and did not say if the decision by police to use the Taser in that situation was appropriate.
“It seems there was a way to de-escalate the situation before it was a problem,” Berg said.