For those of you who believe Dustin Ries, the local cop involved in the New Year's Eve Billy-Club Smack-Down, should spend some time behind bars for his actions, we wouldn't bet on it. We were reminded of the ineffectiveness of the St. Louis Police Department's internal affairs division when Bad Cop Eugene "Rage" Page's name popped up in the Post-Dispatch last week. The article noted that Rage, who'd been charged in civil court for assaulting a minor, reached a settlement with child's family.
To refresh your memory on the case: On February 26, 2009, Rage received a message from his then-girlfriend, a teacher at Imagine College Prep School, who apparently needed help dealing with an unruly student. Rage, who was off-duty at the time (but still in uniform), responded by traveling to the school and escorting the student into an empty classroom while another guard kept watch at the door. According to the suit, Rage grabbed the kid (who weighed 104 pounds) by the throat, suspended him in the air and threw him onto a table, causing it to collapse. Then, according to the suit, Rage hoisted the kid up again and began slamming him against a wall, until pictures in the adjoining classroom allegedly started crashing to the ground. The student sustained swollen vertebrae and bloody piss.
Rage may have been charged in civil court, but he never faced criminal charges. And when his case went before the police department's internal affairs division, it ignored the brutality of his actions. Instead, it reprimanded Rage for delivering the off-duty body-slams while wearing his uniform. A department spokesperson cited the beat-down as "personal business." Rage remains employed by the force.
"The internal affairs function of the police department needs to be real," John Bruzek, the student's attorney, tells Daily RFT. "When officers on the street know that Internal Affairs doesn't function adequately, that affects their behavior. They know what they can get away with."
Anyway, back to New Year's Eve clubber Ries - who, coincidently, also administered his beat-down while off-duty and dressed in uniform. Given the precedent, we sadly fear Ries won't face criminal charges -- and instead will get a slap on the wrist for conducting his "personal business" while wearing blue.