White Police: Black grandmother alleges police brutality against Des Peres police


Marvia Gay thought her son was going to die.The officers were White

She was prone on the concrete floor of the Sam’s Club in Des Peres. Her only son, Derek, was next to her.

“They going to kill him,” she thought. “I gave up. This is the way Derek is going to go. They were beating him so bad.”

Gray, who is 68, made the allegations against the Des Peres police department in a video news conference Monday afternoon, after her attorneys, William Dailey of St. Louis and Andrew Stroth of Chicago, filed a civil rights lawsuit against Des Peres and four of its police officers on her behalf. The lawsuit accuses the city and its officers of assault and battery, false imprisonment and malicious and false prosecution over charges brought against Marvia Gray in April.

The lawsuit stems from an incident on March 23, when Gray and her 43-year-old son bought a 65-inch, flat-screen television at Sam’s Club on Manchester Road. When the Grays couldn’t fit the TV in their SUV, they took it back into the store and asked that it be placed on a pallet near the front of the store, where Derek Gray could later retrieve it.

When Derek Gray returned to get the television, the lawsuit says, a store employee didn’t believe he had purchased it, and he was forced to come inside to customer service to show the receipt. Another employee of the store let fellow employees know the television had been properly purchased, the lawsuit alleges. Derek Gray put the television in his vehicle, but when he got it home told his mother that they first accused him of stealing it.

“While the Grays were at the Store attempting to get a refund, without cause or adequate provocation and in the presence of countless witnesses, violently and physically seized Marvia Gray and Derek Gray, throwing them to the floor, beating them, handcuffing them, then arresting them. These actions are captured on closed-circuit video taken by the surveillance cameras in the Store and cell phones of onlookers.”

A cellphone video provided by Stroth to reporters shows the two Grays already on the ground, struggling while police officers cuff their hands behind their backs and pin them down to the ground

Marvia Gray can be heard screaming: “Leave me alone, please … What are you doing … Please let me go.”

Derek Gray’s head appears to be bleeding in the video.

At the time of the incident, the Des Peres police department issued a statement on its Facebook page, responding to social media discussion of the event.

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