Eric Ronnell Hightower.

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Man in police video leaps to evade officers, police say

  • Article by: CHAO XIONG
  • Star Tribune
  • September 24, 2012 - 11:21 PM

The man shown being kicked by St. Paul police in a video posted last month allegedly jumped out of a motel window early Monday to evade officers responding to a motel fight.

Eric R. Hightower, 30, jumped from a second-floor window of the Highway Motel about 1:48 a.m., according to a police report.

Hightower was later booked at the Ramsey County jail on probable cause domestic abuse and two counts of violating an order for protection.

Charges had not been filed as of Monday afternoon.

Police were called to the motel, in the 2100 block of W. 7th Street, on a fight in one of the rooms. When officers arrived, they heard a woman's voice yell "Stop!"

They knocked on the door and a saw a man jump out of the window, the report said.

Hightower injured his leg and was transported to Regions Hospital. Police said he jumped because of an active domestic abuse no-contact order between him and the woman, identified as his ex-girlfriend.

Hightower was arrested Aug. 28 and charged with aggravated stalking, terroristic threats and property damage for threatening the same woman.

Video of the arrest was posted on YouTube, prompting an internal affairs investigation into the actions of officers Jesse Zilge, who is shown kicking Hightower, and Matthew Gorans.

The officers were placed on paid leave, but were recently reinstated to non-patrol jobs. The investigation is ongoing.

St. Paul Police Federation President Dave Titus responded to Hightower's latest run-in with the law, calling him in a statement "an individual with no regard for the safety of himself, his victims, other citizens or Saint Paul Police Officers."

Titus noted that this was the third time in four months that Hightower has been arrested.

"As the August 28th investigation ... continues, we encourage the community and its leaders to pause and let the facts emerge before rushing to judgment," Titus said.

Hightower pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in July for an unrelated assault in which he punched a man, knocking out his two front teeth. He had been due to turn himself in Monday to serve 45 days in the county workhouse on that conviction.

Chao Xiong • 612-270-4708 Twitter: @ChaoStrib

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