Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has announced that his office has filed felony criminal charges in St. Francois County against Bonne Terre Police Officer Travis W. Cozine.
Cozine, 35, of French Village, is charged with assault in the second degree, armed criminal action and the unlawful possession of a weapon.
According to the May press release, the Bonne Terre Police Department was called to investigate a domestic disturbance. While the suspect was handcuffed, Cozine allegedly struck the suspect several times in the face while wearing a pair of brass knuckles. These actions allegedly caused physical injury to the suspect’s face, resulting in a laceration that had to be closed with stitches by emergency room personnel.
“There is no place for abuse of power in Missouri,” Hawley said.
The Attorney General’s Public Corruption Team is prosecuting the case with the assistance of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. The Attorney General’s Office was appointed special prosecutor because of a conflict at the request of the St. Francois Prosecuting Attorney.
Bonne Terre Police Chief Doug Calvert said the incident was immediately reported to a supervisor who relayed the information to the chief and other supervisors. Cozine was then immediately placed on suspension and the police department contacted the Missouri State Highway Patrol to conduct an independent investigation because it involved “use of force.”
According to the probable cause statement, on May 14, three officers responded to a disturbance at a room at Bonneville Motel. When Cozine arrived, he saw another officer on the second floor with the suspect in handcuffs. When Cozine went to assist the other officer, the suspect attempted to pull away. Cozine walked behind the suspect and threw him to the ground.
“Cozine admitted to retrieving a pair of brass knuckles from his own pants pocket and applying them to his right hand while (the suspect) was on the ground,” the statement reads. “While wearing the brass knuckles, Cozine and (another officer) walked (the suspect) down the stairs to the asphalt parking lot while (the suspect) was still restrained by handcuffs behind his back.
“According to (the other officers), the suspect began to kick and spit and was taken to the ground by Officer Cozine. While on the ground, (the suspect) was lying on his right side in a position similar to the fetal position. Cozine crouched near (the suspect’s) head and delivered three strikes to (the suspect’s) left facial cheek with his right hand that was wearing the brass knuckles.”
The strikes caused a four-centimeter laceration to the suspect’s left cheek. Another officer called for an ambulance and the handcuffs were removed for the man to be transported to a St. Louis hospital for treatment.