Every so often, police officers face scrutiny for inappropriate actions taken in the field. After settling a civil suit, three St. Charles County police officers are facing misdemeanor charges for alleged misconduct while on the job. The settlement reached against the officers totaled $70,000 for treating a suspect with too much force.

The officers face misdemeanor criminal charges for third-degree assault and falsifying a report. A total of four officers were involved in the incident, but one had his charges upgraded to a felony. In the course of the incident in question, the police officers reportedly used excessive force on a suspect that was not being combative.

Representatives for the officers say they were just doing their job to apprehend a man wanted for multiple felonies, including manufacturing methamphetamine and endangering the welfare of a child. The officers assert that they used specific pressure points on the man's body to get him to comply. An internal investigation was conducted and cleared officers of wrongdoing.

When cops are in the field, they expose themselves to serious danger. Those involved with methamphetamine can behave in unpredictable and dangerous ways, so it is quite possible that the cops were just doing what was necessary to take them man into custody. For the sake of the officers, it's unfortunate that the situation escalated in such a fashion.

Like everyone else put on trial for a crime, these law enforcement officers deserve to be treated fairly and presumed innocent until proven otherwise. The findings of the internal police investigation appear to be inconsistent with the story the man being arrested provided, so the police will need to ensure they have competent attorneys to act on their behalf in criminal court.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Civil suit settled in case against St. Charles County officers," Robert Patrick, Feb. 16, 2012