ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis Community College professor was grabbed from behind by an officer, pulled to the ground, handcuffed and arrested at a college system board meeting after trying to object out of turn to rules laid out for the meeting.
The college released video of the incident involving adjunct math professor Steve Taylor, who says he spoke out of turn after the board threatened to kick out anyone who clapped. An arrest report said Taylor “aggressively forced his way” toward board members during the public comment period at Thursday night’s meeting, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Taylor denied charging the board members.
Taylor teaches on the community college system’s Wildwood campus and said that after his arrest he received a letter saying he would no longer be allowed there. He said he views receiving the letter as a firing.
“It was shocking and it all happened so fast,” he said. Later, he added, “I would’ve been willing to leave but I was approached from behind and pulled violently without indication as to who was doing it or why.”
Robert Hertel, president of the National Education Association union for the college, said Taylor sought treatment at a hospital afterward for bruised ribs and injuries to his face and shoulder.
A college police officer tackled Taylor. Local police issued two municipal court summonses against him, alleging he disturbed the peace and resisted arrest.
In a statement, college leaders said that “disruptive outbursts undermine the process of conducting business in a transparent and respectful manner.”
Taylor has been involved in faculty negotiations with administrators over pay raises and other issues. He said attendees had applauded after a union member’s remarks when the board issued its warning. He said the board has never issued a similar warning when people applauded members or administrators.