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April 13, 2023
Claims by the head of the St. Louis County health department that he faced racist harassment at a County Council meeting last week came under sharp rebuke after new footage and police testimony contradicted his version of events.
Last week Dr. Faisal Khan, the acting director of the Department of Public Health, said he was the target of racial slurs and was “shoulder-bumped” and pushed as he left council chambers after answering questions on the county’s new mask mandate. But two videos circulating on social media Monday — one from KSDK (Channel 5) showing Khan as he leaves the chamber and one from a county security camera showing him walking through the lobby — did not show him making any physical contact with anyone.
At the committee meeting Monday, council members heard from multiple law enforcement officers who were there, including Clayton police Capt. Alfred Thuet, who was standing at the back of the chamber at the July 27 council meeting, and security officer Michael Neal, who escorted Khan from the chamber to an elevator. In response to questions from council members, both men said they did not see or hear what Khan said he experienced (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).
Asked if there was anybody with him who could confirm his affirmations, Khan said there was not. Critics claimed that television footage showing Khan approaching the chamber exit untouched proved he was lying about an assault, but they lacked any evidence about what happened outside.
A spokesman for County Executive Sam Page backed Khan, casting the criticism as the product of “political operatives” and “cherry-picked witnesses.” The spokesman, Doug Moore, also noted the administration’s separate investigation of the allegations is ongoing.
ARTICLE: COOPER RODRIGUEZ
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: STLTODAY.COM