ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Two St. Paul police officers who were involved in a controversial YouTube arrest video have returned to work, but have not been assigned to patrol, according to St. Paul Police.

On Aug. 29, video surfaced of Eric Ronnell Hightower’s arrest at the corner of Woodbridge and Milford streets in St. Paul. The video shows one of the arresting officers appear to kick Hightower in the throat while he’s lying down on the sidewalk. [NOTE: Linked video contains explicit language and violence.]

Later in the video, another officer arrives and the two are seen pulling the man’s hair and shoving the man face down onto the hood of the police cruiser.

The incident report from police listed Jesse Zilge as the primary reporting officer and Steven Petron as the secondary reporting officer. Officer Zilge was placed on paid administrative leave on Aug. 29 while the department investigated the incident. Another cop, Officer Matthew Gorans, was placed on paid administrative leave two days later.

“Saint Paul Police Chief Tom Smith found that the video images raised questions about use of force and immediately ordered a thorough internal investigation into the circumstances surrounding all aspects of the arrest, from start to finish,” read a release from the department announcing the second officer had been put on paid administrative leave.

According to St. Paul Police spokesman Howie Padilla, Officer Zilge was assigned to the Technology Development unit and Gorans assigned to the property room on Sept. 13.

Hightower was charged with aggravated stalking, making terroristic threats and fourth-degree criminal damage to property. He was arrested after allegedly stalking and threatening his ex-girlfriend. She told officers he threatened to kill her and had, in the last few weeks, choked her and beaten her.


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