St Louis Police Crash into Bar: PM and Arrested Co-Owner Chad Morris

St Louis Police Crash into Bar: PM and Arrested Co-Owner Chad Morris. On a late Sunday night, a St. Louis City police SUV crashed into Bar: PM, a well-known LGBTQ+ bar in the Carondelet neighborhood. The incident, occurring around 12:30 a.m., has raised concerns and triggered multiple investigations into the circumstances surrounding the crash.

Eyewitnesses and initial police reports indicate that the police vehicle, carrying two officers, lost control, overcorrected, and collided with the establishment. Fortunately, the officers did not sustain injuries in the accident. The exact details leading up to the crash are currently under active investigation.

James Pence, co-owner of Bar:PM, was present at the time of the crash and recounted the aftermath. Pence, who lives above the establishment, was handcuffed by the police after refusing to provide identification. Meanwhile, co-owner Chad Morris, also known as Chad Wick, was arrested and now faces a felony assault charge on an officer and misdemeanor resisting arrest.

Pence expressed skepticism about the police’s claim that the crash was an attempt to avoid a dog on the road. He called for transparency, urging those involved to “own it, tell me what happened, and fix the building.” Morris’s attorney, Javad Khazaeli, has argued that video evidence contradicts the police’s narrative, indicating that Morris’s arrest was unwarranted.

Police Crash into Bar

A late-night collision involving a police vehicle and a popular LGBTQ+ bar in south St. Louis sparks controversy.
St Louis Police Crash into Bar: PM and Arrested Co-Owner Chad Morris. A late-night collision involving a police vehicle and a popular LGBTQ+ bar in south St. Louis sparks controversy.
(IMAGE: KSDK 5 NBC NEWS FOOTAG)

According to the police, Morris is accused of striking an officer in the chest and attempting to flee, leading to the charges against him. However, Khazaeli contends that video evidence does not support these allegations. One video captures the aftermath of the crash, including Pence being handcuffed, but it does not show Morris assaulting an officer, as claimed by the police.

Another video reveals the police SUV swerving across the road before crashing into Bar:PM. The driver, a 32-year-old probationary officer with less than a year on the force, reportedly swerved to avoid a parked car. The St. Louis Police probable cause statement alleges that Morris began shouting obscenities and struck an officer in the chest, causing the officer to lose balance. Morris is then said to have attempted to flee the scene, resulting in the charges.

In a statement to The Advocate, a public information officer for the police department confirmed that Morris, 37, has been charged with third-degree assault and resisting arrest. The officer emphasized that no officers were injured in the vehicle accident, and the investigation is ongoing. The department directed further inquiries to the Circuit Attorney’s Office.

Legal Dispute

Chad Morris and James Pence, co-owners of Bar:PM, dispute the police department’s account of the incident. Pence, who was initially handcuffed but not arrested, claimed that the police made offensive comments after he questioned the situation. The couple’s attorney, Javad Khazaeli, has video evidence showing Pence’s interaction with the police.

The video reveals Pence being approached by an officer asking for identification, to which Pence questions, “Why should I show my ID? I didn’t do anything wrong.” According to Khazaeli, Pence was then arrested for disturbing the peace. However, the charges were later dropped.

Khazaeli alleged that another video, not shared to preserve its use in Morris’s defense, shows the officer threatening the person recording the incident. When Morris arrived at the scene, officers reportedly began yelling at him, leading to a physical altercation. The attorney shared surveillance footage from a nearby business, indicating the police vehicle was “flying” down the street before the crash.

Video Evidence Challenges Police Account

On Tuesday, attorney Javad Khazaeli released two videos shedding light on the incident. The first, a 15-second security footage, shows the police SUV speeding down South Broadway, swerving unexpectedly, and crashing into Bar:PM. Khazaeli noted the erratic behavior of the vehicle and questioned the reason behind the swerve.

The second video, nearly 30 minutes long, captured by a bystander after the crash, raises more questions. It shows Pence confronting officers about the crash and being handcuffed when questioning the need for identification. When Morris arrives, obscenities are exchanged, and officers refer to bystanders and Morris as “clowns.”

Morris attempts to leave down an alley, followed by officers, leading to an altercation off-camera. While Morris is eventually brought back, handcuffed and visibly injured, the video does not capture the alleged assault on the officer.

Details In Short:

  1. Date of Incident: Sunday night, December 18, 2023.
  2. Time of Incident: Approximately 12:30 a.m.
  3. Location: Bar:PM, a popular LGBTQ+ bar in the Carondelet neighborhood, St. Louis.
  4. Persons Involved: Chad Morris (37 years old), co-owner; James Pence, co-owner; St. Louis City police officers.
  5. Police Vehicle: 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe, driven by a 32-year-old probationary officer with less than a year on the force.
  6. Charges Faced by Chad Morris: Third-degree assault and resisting arrest.
  7. Arrest and Charges Time: Chad Morris arrested on Monday morning.
  8. Details of the Crash: Police vehicle lost control, overcorrected, and collided with Bar:PM.
  9. Eyewitnesses: James Pence, co-owner, who lives above the bar.
  10. Alleged Reason for Crash: Police claim swerving to avoid a parked car.
  11. Legal Dispute: Discrepancies between police account and video evidence presented by Morris’s attorney.

Community Support and Controversy

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones expressed her concern at a news conference, emphasizing that the incident is under investigation, and officers involved will be held accountable for any misconduct. The LGBTQ+ community rallied around Bar:PM, with volunteers helping clean up the establishment to expedite its reopening.

Attorney Khazaeli revealed that Morris was released on his recognizance, and the felony assault charge was downgraded to a misdemeanor. Morris, speaking briefly after his release, expressed gratitude for the support amid the emotional time.

St. Louis Aldermanic President Megan Green called for the immediate release of dash and body camera footage and the dismissal of Morris’s charges. Crowds gathered at Bar:PM to show solidarity, highlighting its significance as a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community.

As the investigation unfolds, the LGBTQ+ community in St. Louis awaits further developments in the legal proceedings against Chad Morris and the accountability of the involved police officers.


FAQs:

1. What charges does co-owner Chad Morris face?

Chad Morris faces a felony assault charge on an officer and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest.

2. What does video evidence reveal about the police SUV crash?

Video evidence shows the police SUV speeding down South Broadway, swerving unexpectedly, and crashing into Bar:PM, raising questions about the reason behind the swerve.

How has the LGBTQ+ community responded to the incident?

The LGBTQ+ community has rallied around Bar:PM, with volunteers helping clean up the establishment, and crowds gathering to show support and solidarity.

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