Surveillance video is released showing an arrest now connected to a Joplin police lawsuit. The arrest happened in August of 2015. Once of the officers has since moved to the Kansas City area.
Joey Caulk had been arrested for a domestic disturbance situation. Police say a report from that night does not show if Caulk was intoxicated. Caulk contends unnecessary force required emergency medical care and significant follow-up treatment.
The video shows Caulk just arriving at the Joplin jail. There's no sound from this video surveillance of outside the jail entrance. Nonetheless, we've asked Joplin attorney Bill Fleischaker to analyze what can be seen. Fleischaker is not part of this case.
Caulk gets out of the police SUV, and officers John Isenmann and Ethan Rodgers escort him towards the jail. Then Caulk goes to the ground, and one officer rushes in the jail building. Caulk contends in a lawsuit against officers Isenmann and Rodgers that the officers, "...intentionally, unnecessarily, and unreasonably..." pushed him to the ground.
Fleischaker asked, during our watch of the video, "Are they pushing him down?"
Caulk appears to stand up when he gets out of the police SUV. But then an officer comes behind him, and Caulk then bends down. Both officers deny any wrongdoing, and say, through court documents, that any injuries to Caulk were caused by him not listening to police orders.
"It certainly isn't a slam dunk either way, from what I can see," says Fleischaker.
Fleischaker says no sound and only one camera angle makes it difficult to get the full picture of what's going on. But Fleischaker says a possible even bigger issue is this surveillance video appears to be edited. At one point, the video pauses and 16 seconds go by until officers are getting out of their SUV. Almost 20 seconds of video are lost when Caulk is getting out of the back of the SUV.
When asked about the paused video, police said they were not aware.
Fleischaker says there's a good chance witness testimony will be a decisive factor in this lawsuit.
"Most of the time, the judge is going to go with the law enforcement's version of the facts," says Fleischaker.
The Joplin Police Department and attorneys for Caulk and the two police officers all declined comment on this litigation.
Joplin's city attorney says he doesn't see any gaps in time on his surveillance video copy.
According to records, Caulk has been arrested in the past for public consumption (Aug. 2016), domestic disturbance (Jan. 2016; a different case from the one connected to this lawsuit), and assault (Oct. 2016).
Click the associated video to see the full surveillance footage.
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