The latest Ferguson, Mo., police officer to come under scrutiny in the wake of Michael Brown's shooting is Justin Cosma, who stands accused of hog-tying a 12-year-old boy in 2010 when Cosma was a sheriff's deputy in a neighboring county, the Huffington Post reports. A civil rights lawsuit filed in 2012 alleges Cosma and his partner, Richard Carter, asked the boy if he'd been playing on a nearby highway as the boy checked the mail at the end of his driveway. The boy said no. The suit details the following scene: "The deputies grabbed [the boy], choked him around the neck, and threw him to the ground," causing "bruising, choke marks, scrapes, and cuts," the suit alleges. The boy's lawyer added the hog-tying detail in a statement to the Huffington Post.
In their report, Cosma and Carter accused the child of assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest, the suit alleges, but county prosecutors refused to pursue charges and none were ever filed. The year the suit was filed, Cosma became a Ferguson police officer. Some of his fellow St. Louis-area officers whose actions have also come under scrutiny:
- Eddie Boyd III, who faced accusations of physical abuse against children from 2004 to 2006 while serving in St. Louis, including one allegation that he hit a 12-year-old girl in the head with a pistol and, later, hit a teen boy in the nose with a gun. He resigned and was hired in Ferguson.
- Dan Page, a St. Louis County officer who was suspended for allegedly making racist and sexist comments on a video that came to light after the Ferguson protests started.
- Ray Albers, who was suspended after allegedly pointing his gun at Ferguson civilians, including a reporter, and threatening to kill them.
Cosma also made headlines recently when he allegedly detained Huffington Post and Washington Post
journalists at a Ferguson McDonald's earlier this month.