On East Stuart Street, the Feb. 27 fist fight between Officer Samuel Rosario and Robert Humes seems common knowledge.
“He’s down the street,” says a man working on a car in front of Humes’ house when a reporter asks about the guy who fought with a police officer. Humes, 19, hardly seems worked up as he talks about his encounter with Rosario.
“Life is life,” he tells a reporter when asked what happened.
Rosario has been put on unpaid leave and is facing charges of official misconduct and misdemeanor battery. Was he guilty of police brutality?
“He’s guilty of whatever he’s guilty of,” Humes answers softly. “That’s not for me to decide.”
Would Humes testify against Rosario?
“If I had to, yeah,” Humes says.
Hours after the February fisticuffs, when police investigators came to ask about the altercation, Humes defended Rosario, who invited him to fight and promised not to arrest him.
He should get a promotion, Humes told investigators a few hours after the fact – he’s the only cop who’s ever come around who had the balls do anything. Records memorializing those statements weren’t released by the city on Monday. Instead, Springfield police released videos of the fight and the moments leading up to it that show a frustrated cop losing his cool.
A broken table
Rosario was on the scene for more than 10 minutes before the fight began. The time was marked by a running argument between the officer and Humes that featured no shortage of expletives and insults from both sides.
Rosario and another officer responded to Humes’ home to take a complaint about a 16-year-old girl, who is the daughter of Humes’ mother, breaking a glass table. She was gone when police arrived.
“Man, that’s criminal damage, that’s domestic,” Humes tells Rosario and another officer after Rosario says that the girl could be charged with damaging property. “Come on. She, at least, gets two charges. If she don’t get both charges, I want both of you-all’s badge numbers. I ain’t going for that shit.”
“He always says…badge number and all this,” says Humes’ mother, who is standing on the porch of the home, a few feet from Rosario and her son, who is in the front yard.
Rosario skips verbal judo and goes straight to karate.
“First of all, you’re not a police officer, right?” Rosario tells Humes. “Did you go to law school? Did you go to police officer school? Do you have a badge? Did you go through the academy? So do you know the charges or no? So you went to court once or twice and now you know the law? First of all, don’t tell me how to do my job, all right? I just fucking got here. I just got here. You don’t even know me.”
Humes talks to Rosario continually while holding what appears to be broom in his hands, his words indecipherable in the video captured by the officer’s body camera save for some expletives. Whatever he says isn’t appreciated by the officer.
“If you want to do something, do something, then, son,” Rosario tells Humes. “Little kid. Little kid. I just got here. Try to threaten me, son? You call me over here and then you try to threaten me, son? I ought to slap you in some silvers and take you down to county. That’s what I ought to do, because what you gonna do? False arrest? You didn’t just point that stick (broom) at me?”
“Is your camera on, motherfucker?” Humes asks, pointing toward Rosario’s body camera. “Is your camera on?”
“You see that red dot?” Rosario replies. “It’s on. It’s on. It’s on with your scary ass. … You watch what you say, kid. I don’t know who you think you talking to. But, first of all, you don’t talk to me like that. You understand that? I’m here to help you. And all of a sudden, before I even got here, you’re like ‘Dumb motherfuckers ain’t gonna do shit.’ I just got here. Fuck you!”
“Fuck you!” Humes replies.
After exchanging a few f-bombs, Humes twice says “You a rookie bitch” to Rosario, who joined the police force in 2015 after a stint in the military. Rosario pushes Humes, knocking him backward a few steps.
“Bitch, that’s police brutality!” Humes exclaims.
“Is it?” Rosario asks. “Is it, because you went to court once or twice?”
“Hey, I know my laws, bitch,” Humes says. Rosario then turns his attention to Humes’ mother. The officer explains what will happen if police locate her daughter who broke the glass table. “Ma’am, if we find her, she’s going to be arrested for criminal damage,” Rosario says. “Did she hit you today?”
“Fuck you, what you mean put your hands on…” Humes interjects.
“Shut the fuck up!” Rosario says. Humes says something that’s mostly indecipherable, but the n-word is clear on the video, and Rosario takes exception.
“I’m not a fucking nigga – you watch your fucking mouth,” Rosario warns before turning his attention back to Humes’ mother to collect information about her daughter. “She did hit you today?” he asks.
An f-bomb fest
As Rosario questions Humes’ mother, her son keeps talking.
“We’re in America,” Humes says.
“I know where the fuck we at,” Rosario says.
“Come on – really?” Humes’ mother says. It’s not clear from the video whom she is talking to.
“America!” Humes exclaims.
“You don’t see this bracelet right here?” says Rosario, holding up his right hand, apparently to display a memento of his military service. “What have you done for America? What you done for this fucking America? Clean up the fucking glass, bitch. You ain’t done shit. Shut up.”
Humes, still holding what appears to be a broom, keeps talking, his words mostly indecipherable. At one point he says, “You little wannabe motherfucking cop, bitch.”
“I’m right here, man, you scared,” Rosario responds.
“Who’s scared, bitch?” Humes says.
“You fucking scared,” Rosario replies.
“As soon as I put my hands on your punk ass, I know how it’s gonna go,” Humes says.
“I’m not even going to take you to jail,” Rosario tells Humes. “I’ll give you the freedom of that.”
“Man, you’re a goddamn liar,” Humes responds.
“You wanna put one or two?” asks Rosario, inviting a fight.
“Shit, I ain’t stupid – you ain’t about to mace me,” Humes says.
“I won’t even – mace?” Rosario says. “I’m turning down my radio, so I can hear the fucking bullshit coming out of your mouth.”
“Really?” Humes’ mother says from the porch. “I call you out here for (indecipherable) and you (indecipherable) my son? Come on now. Really?”
“Well, first of all, your son has a fucking mouth on him,” Rosario tells the woman.
“Yes, he does – I know he does,” the woman agrees.
“And now I can see why your daughter’s acting all out of control,” Rosario continues. “So, first of all, discipline needs to be an issue.” Humes says something indecipherable.
“Shut the fuck up,” Rosario says.
“You shut the fuck up,” Humes shoots back.
“Discipline needs to be an issue, ma’am,” Rosario continues, turning his attention back to Humes’ mother, who has told police that her daughter is angry because she believes that her mom owes her $40. “Obviously, there’s a disciplinary issue right here.” Humes continually talks to the officer, but his words are mostly indecipherable.
“OK, you want to throw some hands, man, we can throw some hands, and I won’t even arrest you, man – I’ll let you go right in there,” Rosario tells Humes, who responds with something unintelligible.
“Oh, like I’ve never heard that before,” Rosario says. The two argue, talking over each other. “You-all go to Chicago, they gonna lay your ass,” Humes says.
“Like I’ve never heard that before,” Rosario repeats.
“Go back to Mexico, nigger,” Humes tells the officer.
“I ain’t from Mexico, you stupid motherfucker,” Rosario tells Humes, who again tells the officer to go to Mexico. Rosario turns back to Humes’ mother. If police can find her daughter, he says, she will be arrested for breaking the table.
“Can I have your badge number?” Humes demands as his mother and Rosario talk about the case that prompted the police call. “I want your badge number. Can I have that? I need that. I need that badge number.”
With Humes talking but apparently being ignored, Rosario tells Humes’ mother to call police if officers can’t immediately locate her daughter and the girl returns home. The officer sounds calm as he gathers facts and explains what police will do.
“Just because we don’t find her now doesn’t mean she’s going to escape free, you know what I mean?” Rosario tells the woman. “Where would she go, though?”
“I don’t have no clue,” the woman answers. “I don’t know who she know or who she don’t know. I don’t know none of my kids’ friends or nothing.”
“That’s fine, that’s fine,” Rosario responds. “So, she’s mad about 40 bucks?”
“Well, 40 bucks is legally mine, and she says I owe it to her,” the woman says.
“She’s a juvenile,” Rosario says. “She ain’t got no money entitled to her, period. Mom does not owe kid nothing.”
“No,” the woman agrees.
Humes has grown silent, and it appears that the storm might be over as his mother and Rosario talk. Rosario tells the woman that her daughter had no right to break the table, and he asks whether her daughter has been violent toward her. While police can arrest the girl, Rosario says, they have no control over what prosecutors or judges might do.
“So, can I have your badge?” Hume interjects as his mother and Rosario speak. “I mean, you just pushed me. I want that number.” And the brief calm is over.
“I pushed you?” Rosario says. “Yeah, you pushed the shit out of me, dude,” Humes responds. “I want that number.”
“Oh, really?” Rosario says in a sarcastic tone.
“I want that number,” Humes again says.
“So, you scared now?” Rosario says. “Is that what it is?”
“No, I ain’t scared,” Humes replies. “Look, I can’t touch you, but I can (indecipherable).”
“I told you you could,” Rosario tells Humes. The two exchange f-bombs. “Fuck you, you bitch – give me that number,” Humes says.
“Here, we in Round Two!” someone exclaims from the porch.
“I told you if you want to throw hands…” Rosario says.
“No, I ain’t gonna touch you, you bitch,” Humes responds.
“Yeah, cause you’re scared,” the officer says. “You’re scared, dude.” Humes denies that he’s afraid.
“Give me your fucking number – why don’t you want to give me your number, bitch?” Humes says. As he insults her son, Rosario asks the mother for her name while dismissing Humes as a coward.
“Yeah, you’re scared, dude,” Rosario says. “You can keep running your mouth, but you still ain’t gonna do nothing. I’m standing right here, you still ain’t gonna do nothing.” Then he turns his attention to Humes’ brother, who is standing nearby.
“Would you-all come get your brother, please?” Rosario asks.
“You can’t control that – that’s the mouth of the south,” Humes’ mother says.
“I can tell,” Rosario says.
“I’m gonna put you in your shit,” Humes says. The officer and Humes keep arguing, with much of what Humes says unintelligible on the video.
“I’m right here,” Rosario says. “All day. You still ain’t gonna do nothing. I’m right here. Damn. Is that all you all do on the East Side, is run your fucking mouth? Is that all you all do on the East Side, run your goddamn mouth? You all think we’re just a bunch of bitches? You think I’m supposed to show up and have you run your fucking mouth?” Humes says something unintelligible.
“Come on, then,” Rosario responds as Humes keeps talking. “I pushed you once, and you scared. That’s why you didn’t do nothing. You’re scared.” Humes questions whether Rosario’s body camera is operating.
“My camera is on,” the officer says, grasping the device to give Humes a better view. “Now it’s on, bitch,” Humes says. “My camera’s been on – my camera’s been on,” Rosario retorts. “You’re scared. Come on. You’re scared, right?”
“You’ve got a gun,” Humes notes.
“You want me to leave it in my car – is that what you want?” Rosario responds. “You want me to leave it in my car? What do you want me to do for you to put some hands on me? You want me to put my pistol away? You want me to put my badge away?”
“Come back without your uniform and shit,” Humes says.
“OK, I’ll be back tonight, then,” Rosario says.
“Yeah, come back tonight,” Humes says. “Come back tonight.”
“But in the meantime, I’m right here,” Rosario responds.
“I’m not going to touch you when you’ve got your uniform and shit,” Humes says.
“Of course not, you’re not,” Rosario replies. “You’re scared, son. You run your mouth, but you’re scared.” Then he turns his attention to the porch.
“I just told him I wasn’t going to arrest him,” Rosario says. “I’m not even going to tase you. I’m not even going to mace you. I’m just going to give you these hands, and you’re still going to run your (mouth).”
The fight is on
The confrontation attracted the attention of at least four neighbors or passersby, who can be seen on video watching from nearby sidewalks. Before the first punch is thrown, Rosario raises his voice to a near shout.
“He’s scared,” Rosario loudly declares. “Am I right or am I wrong? He’s scared, right? Is that how we do it on the East Side? You want these hands, you can have them. I won’t even arrest you, son. You scared. You a bitch. That’s what you is. You a bitch. That’s why everybody around here gonna fucking punk your bitch ass. ’Cause you ain’t nothing but a pussy. Fuck you.”
“Fuck you, bitch,” Humes responds. As Humes curses, Rosario again asks the woman on the porch for her name before turning his attention back to Humes, who continues talking, with words unintelligible in the video.
“I’m done with you, dude,” Rosario says. “If you ain’t gonna throw hands, then shut the fuck up.” Then he advances across the front yard. “If you ain’t gonna throw hands, then fucking do something,” the officer says as he chest bumps Humes, who has been standing with his hands in his pockets. The bump prompts Humes to put his hands up and take a swing. And the fight is on.
“The rookie started it first!” a woman standing nearby says as Rosario hits Humes. “See, that’s assault and battery.” Another officer who has been scouting the neighborhood for the girl who broke the table arrives and rushes up while Rosario and Humes are wrestling.
“He’s good – don’t do it, don’t do it,” Rosario tells the other officer as he throws Humes to the ground, then starts punching him in the head. After a few punches, the other officer orders Humes to put his hands behind his back. Rosario stops raining blows while Humes looks up at the other officer from the ground.
“He’s good, don’t do it,” Rosario tells the other officer before resuming the fight. Humes seems alarmed as the punches start again.
“What the fuck,” he sputters. After three or four blows, Rosario releases his grip.
“Don’t arrest him, don’t arrest him,” Rosario tells his colleague as the altercation comes to an end.
“I thought it was going to be a one-on-one,” Humes says as Rosario lets him go and stands up. “What type of shit was that?”
“We’re done,” the other officer says. But Humes looks ready for more as he takes off his sweat jacket. “We ain’t done!” Humes declares. “Fuck that shit!” He strides to the middle of the street and challenges Rosario. “Come on!” he shouts.
But Rosario says it’s over.
“Dude, like I told you, you ain’t about that life, kid – you ain’t about that life,” Rosario tells Humes. “Now, go inside. Go inside. We done here.” Humes turns his attention to the other officer, pointing at Rosario’s colleague.
“Don’t do that shit again – run up on me,” Humes tells the other officer. “I’m telling you, don’t do that shit again.” Rosario’s colleague doesn’t sound impressed. “Don’t talk to me like that,” he says. Then Humes accuses Rosario of taking a cheap shot while his attention was diverted by the other officer.
“And you’s a bitch,” Humes tells Rosario. “Who swings when a guy ain’t (looking at you)? Who does that shit?”
“Kid, you done, man,” Rosario says.
“You done, bitch!” Humes responds.
“You know what it is? Rosario says. “I’m tired of getting talked to like that. If you man, you wanna act man, you better be a man.”
“Yeah, I am a man,” Humes tells the officer.
“I didn’t see no man right there, dude,” Rosario responds. “I’ve had women who fight better than you.”
When Humes again complains that it wasn’t a fair fight because the other officer approached from behind, Rosario cuts him off.
“You-all heard me, right?” Rosario says. “What did I say? I said ‘Don’t touch him. Don’t arrest him and don’t even touch him.’ Did I not? I’m true to my word. I’m sorry but I’m true to my word.” Humes keeps talking.
“I was gonna knock your ass out until (the other officer came),” Humes says.
“When were you going to do that, when you were on your back over there in the corner?” Rosario asks.
“As soon as I heard ‘Get on...’” Humes says. Rosario cuts him off.
“Dude, I felt bad for you,” the officer says. “That’s why I stopped hitting you.”
“Fuck you, man,” Humes fires back. “You can never take me one-on-one, bitch.”
“I just did,” Rosario observes. “I just did.”
“You really didn’t,” Humes asserts.
“I just did,” Rosario insists.
“You really didn’t,” Humes repeats.
“I just did,” Rosario again says. “You know, the funny part is, nobody came to help you.” Then, Rosario turns back to the woman on the porch to gather more information, as if the fight had never happened, while Humes continues complaining about the outcome.
“What’s your daughter’s name?” Rosario asks the woman on the porch. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry, but your son over here needs some discipline.” The remark sets Humes off.
“Man, I wish you would just get back in the street,” Humes says while waving his hands. “One more goddamn time, nigger.”
Rosario turns to his fellow officer. “What do you think, Manny?” he asks. “Should I give him one more?”
“I don’t know,” replies the other officer, who reported the incident to his superiors.
“Should I give him one more?” Rosario asks again, sounding rhetorical. “I don’t think you want it, kid -- I don’t think you want it, kid.”
“Come back later,” Humes says. Rosario turns again to Humes’ mother to talk about the original call.
“Ma’am, if she comes back, would you give us a call, please?” Rosario says. “OK, and we’ll handle her accordingly.”
“I’ll handle you when you come back, sir,” Humes tells the officer.
“Dude, I’m right here, man,” Rosario responds with a laugh. “You already got it, man. Don’t even try. That little kid across the street is ready to whip your ass, so don’t even try, man.”
Springfield police in a written statement accompanying the release of videos on Monday condemned Rosario.
“This incident does not depict the actions of the hard working men and women of the Springfield Police Department,” the department’s statement read.
Dan Fultz, Rosario’s attorney, said that it’s possible that Humes’ statement to investigators that Rosario deserved a promotion could impact the case.
“Assuming those statements were made, it very well could affect it,” Fultz said. “It’s difficult to prosecute a case in which you have a non-compliant complaining witness. In this case, if those statements were actually made, he might not even be a complaining witness.”
On the other hand, Fultz noted, Humes could be subpoenaed and compelled to testify. He also said that Rosario, who is on unpaid leave, may have done things differently if he had the chance.
“I think there are certainly things in all our lives, which, if we had the chance to do them over again, we would,” Fultz said. “I would presume this is one of those for Mr. Rosario.”
Contact Bruce Rushton at email@example.com.