News, Culture & Society

St. Louis college prof grabbed, arrested at board meeting

Shocking video reveals the moment a St. Louis Community College professor was grabbed from behind by an officer, pulled to the ground, handcuffed and arrested at a board meeting. 

Steve Taylor, 53, is the adjunct math professor who was tackled after objecting to a rule the board put in place earlier in the meeting that 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. Taylor denied charging at them. 

Taylor told the St. Louis-Post Dispatch he later received a letter from the college telling him he was no longer allowed on campus, which he views 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.’ 

The college released the video showing Taylor walking down the center aisle objecting to the board chancellor, who had just told the crowd ‘the applause has to stop or I will ask you to leave’.

The audience was responding to a professor who had just spoken on receiving higher pay.

When Taylor speaks out of turn, the chancellor asks him to please leave the room. 

He then motions to a security guard and says ‘would you please ask him to leave the room and remove him from the room.’ 

That’s when the officer grabs Taylor from behind, slamming him to the floor in front of where the board sat.

Those in the audience are heard gasping and saying, ‘what are you doing?’, ‘let him go’ and ‘first amendment rights!’.

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.

Local police issued two municipal court summonses against him, alleging he disturbed the peace and resisted arrest. 

Taylor said he was just ‘voicing his displeasure with ground rules laid out at the meeting.’ 

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.  



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