No assault charges in St. Paul kicking cop case


Assault charges will not be brought against a St. Paul police officer who was seen in a widely-viewed YouTube video kicking a suspect during an August arrest, the Pioneer Press reports.

The Olmsted County attorney's office reviewed the case to avoid a conflict of interest for their Ramsey County counterparts, and declined to file felony charges against officers Jesse Zilge and Matthew Gorans, the newspaper reports. The office noted that the officers knew the suspect had been combative in the past, that a crowd was growing prior to backup arriving, and that the suspect was not following commands.

The incident was videotaped by a friend of the suspect and posted to YouTube. (Warning: Video also contains profanity.)

Police were responding to calls to police that the suspect, Eric Hightower, was stalking a former girlfriend. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated stalking, terroristic threats and fourth-degree criminal damage to property in the case, the Pioneer Press says.

Hightower was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison, stayed for five years, stemming from another incident a month later, in September, in which police were again called because Hightower was stalking the same woman.

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