BATTER UP! GET 6 MONTHS FOR $19.99
Kenneth A. Grooms II

St. Louis Police Officer Kenneth A. Grooms II (left) leaves federal court in February with former attorney Dan Gerry. Grooms was sentenced to 4 months in  jail for a misdemeanor civil rights violation. Photo by Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS — A former St. Louis police officer was sentenced in federal court Thursday to four months in jail for handcuffing a man and then driving him around and berating him after the man argued with the officer’s fiancee.

A jury convicted Kenneth A. Grooms II in July of the misdemeanor civil rights violation.

Prosecutors say that after the argument on May 5, 2018, at a St. Louis restaurant, Grooms drove there, in uniform, and handcuffed the man. Grooms then placed the man in his police SUV and drove him around, slamming on the brakes to throw the man around in the back seat, prosecutors said. After stopping in an alley, where he pushed the man into a fence and a dumpster while telling him that no one cared what happened to him, Grooms dropped the man off at the restaurant and released him, prosecutors said. He never filed a police report nor notified his department about the incident, according to prosecutors.

Grooms’ defense attorney, Luke Baumstark, wrote in a court filing seeking probation that Grooms’ fiancee, now wife, was pregnant at the time and he was “involuntarily thrust into an impossible situation” when she called and said she’d been threatened. She was with their daughters at the time, Baumstark wrote. When he arrived he separated his fiancee and the victim by placing that man in his car, Baumstark wrote, detaining him for about 6 minutes.

Get high-interest news alerts delivered promptly to your inbox.