Officer's Actions Lead To Dismissal Of Charges Against Assault Suspect

Photo Courtesy Courier-Journal
Photo Courtesy Courier-Journal

By Craig Hoffman

(LOUISVILLE, July 9th, 2004, 11 p.m.) -- Police Chief Robert White has ordered an investigation into the actions of an officer during the arrest of an assault suspect who was placed in a prolonged headlock and pepper sprayed while handcuffed. The incident was caught on tape, and the Commonwealth's Attorney was so angry after viewing it, he dropped the assault charges against the suspect. Craig Hoffman reports.

Public defenders representing the suspect, 25-year-old Marshall Galloway, are calling the behavior of the officer in question disgusting and inappropriate. They welcome Chief Robert White's investigation into Officer Steve Cambron's actions and want the chief to review other cases involving Cambron.

The camera in Officer's Cambron's patrol car recorded the 45-minute video that shows Cambron keeping Galloway in a headlock as another officer tried to handcuff him. Cambron also used pepper spray to subdue Galloway.

In his police report, Cambron wrote that Galloway kicked the officer in the groin and tried to flee, then continued to resist arrest.

Although Jefferson County Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Stengel isn't saying Officer Cambron broke the law, he does questions his use of force. "If an officer is acting within the law, we'll support him --we'll bleed for him. But if he's acting and doing something wrong, he's on his own."

Stengel claims Officer Cambron missed court appearances in previous cases involving Galloway, and believes that the force used against Galloway was payback for another incident involving Galloway five years ago. That's one reason Stengel dropped assault and resisting arrest charges against Galloway.

"This has nothing to do with the stop," Stengel said. "This is a retalitory action by this officer."

Police Chief Robert White ordered an internal investigation. Mayor Jerry Abramson supports the investigation, but urges the public not to "rush to judgment."

Marshall Galloway has a long arrest history for dealing drugs, resisting arrest, and fighting law officers. Police Union President Richard Dotson says Officer Cambron broke no department rules during Galloway's arrest. "The officer went by policy and procedure by escalating the force used to try and control the prisoner. From what I know about it, I don't see where the officer did anything wrong."

Officer Steve Cambron is a veteran of Louisville streets. He has earned nearly 100 commendations for outstanding work in this community. He faces no criminal charges, and may not have violated department rules.

Chief White says there's no indication that Cambron did anything wrong, but he wants the Professional Standards Unit to review the case anyway.

Online Reporter: Craig Hoffman

Online Producer: Michael Dever