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September 13, 2007

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Head knocker

TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY FRIEND

Lawyer for officer caught on tape says driver baits police
By Georgina Gustin
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
09/13/2007

An attorney hired by the St. George police officer caught on tape berating a St. Louis driver said Wednesday that the motorist lures police officers into aggressive behavior.

"This is clearly a case where this young man is baiting police officers," attorney Travis L. Noble said. "This isn't someone who just happened upon this."

Brett Darrow, 20, posted a video on the Internet of Sgt. James Kuehnlein threatening him as he sat in his car in a commuter parking lot last week. The clip has sparked national attention and local controversy.

It wasn't the first time Darrow captured interaction with police and posted it online.
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Late last year, Darrow approached a police checkpoint with his in-car camera rolling. When the officer asked where he was going, he replied, "I don't wish to discuss my personal life with you, officer."

The officer ordered him out of the car, and the two argued.

Some people, including police officers, say Darrow makes a habit of baiting cops. St. George Police Chief Scott Uhrig said Kuehnlein's behavior was out of line but questioned why Darrow's car is decked out with scanners and a radar detector in addition to the camera.

Darrow said, "They call me 'video boy'" on a local police Internet forum. But he denies he's trying to entrap officers.

"They think I'm out to get them, but they're stopping me," Darrow said.

He said he had a run-in with an off-duty St. Louis police officer two years ago and was arrested on suspicion of assault. The case was later dismissed. Months later, he installed a video camera in his car.

"I just want to even the playing field," he said.

Noble said he agrees that Kuehnlein's initial reaction was aggressive but said the officer was likely trying to gain control over what he perceived to be a suspicious situation.

"Apparently he knows how officers operate," Noble added, referring to Darrow. "He drives past a cop, pulls into an empty lo

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