(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A St. Joseph police officer was charged with assault in Buchanan County in connection to reports of the officer hitting an individual while they were under arrest.
Sgt. James Langston was charged with fourth-degree assault against a “special victim”, a Class A misdemeanor, in Buchanan County on Monday.
The case stems from April 6, 2021, when police officers had arrested and handcuffed Navada M. McEvoy. According to a news release from the prosecutor’s office, no injuries were sustained from the assault.
A probable cause statement filed by St. Joseph Police Captain John Olszowka alleges that Langston hit McEvoy with an open hand multiple times. McEvoy was handcuffed and was not physically resisting officers. According to the Prosecutor’s office, McEvoy is considered a “special victim” under Missouri Law because he was handcuffed and therefore considered a “vulnerable person.”
Langston has been with the department for more than 20 years and has been the supervisor of the School Resource Officer program for more than 4 years. According to the St. Joseph Police Department, the sergeant has been suspended without pay.
Langston is facing up to one year in county jail, and/or a fine not to exceed $2,000.
The prosecuting attorney, Ron Holliday, provided additional comments in the news release about the incident and why the charge was important.
“But it is my opinion generally that the right of a law enforcement officer to exert any amount of force against a suspect ends when that person is in custody, restrained by handcuffs, and not in any way further resisting,” the prosecutor wrote. “After a suspect is in custody and handcuffed, a law enforcement officer must take all reasonable steps to protect the person under arrest, because that person is then vulnerable.”
Holliday then acknowledged SJPD’s, “professional and transparent manner” in the investigation.
“The initial assault allegation was reported by other officers on the scene, which triggered the police investigation of the case,” he said. “I was advised of the investigation within hours of the incident by the Chief of Police.”