Conflicting stories have surfaced around a recent altercation between two young men and a Metro security guard in St. Louis. The incident underscores the importance of having a criminal defense attorney ensure that your side of the story is told and that your rights are protected.

First, the story told by police: essentially, they say, the guard was victimized by the two young men. Police say they escorted the men away from the Civic Center MetroLink Station after the security officer saw them engaging in “suspicious activity” and called police for help. That night, according to police, the young men returned to the MetroLink station.

Police claim that one of the young men didn’t have a ticket to ride the bus, and when he was asked to leave, he became confrontational. His friend is accused of trying to strike the security guard, and police claim both young men began assaulting the officer.

However, a witness said the security guard punched one of the young men first, and that the dispute wasn’t over a ticket, but “because of a girl.” The witness said he based this belief on statements made at the scene.

Part of the ensuing fight, about two minutes of it, was captured on video, which shows the Metro guard restraining one of the young men in a headlock. The guard punches the man 10 times.

Altercations with police officers and security guards can lead to very serious criminal charges, including first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer. This charge carries extremely harsh penalties upon conviction, even if the officer was not seriously injured.

However, in some cases, an aggressive and thorough defense investigation may reveal that the authorities violated the defendant’s rights. Such an investigation may involve witness statements, expert testimony, video evidence and other physical evidence that can be utilized in the defense of the accused.