December 1, 2014
(theeverlastinggopstoppers) Several St. Louis Rams players, including wide receivers Kenny Britt and Chris Givens, entered the playing field on Sunday showing support to Ferguson protestors by holding their hands over their heads – amid the controversy that rages in the wake of a controversial grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown.
In response, the St. Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA) issued a statement condemning the gesture, calling it “tasteless, offensive and inflammatory,” and noting they were “profoundly disappointed” in the Rams football team’s decision to “chose to ignore the mountains of evidence” released by the grand jury.
The SLPOA statement also demands the five players making the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture be punished by their superiors. Those players are: wide receiver Tavon Austin, wide receiver Stedman Bailey, wide receiver Kenny Britt, tight end Jared Cook, wide receiver Chris Givens.
The Daily Mail reported that one member of the association was quoted saying:
It is unthinkable that hometown athletes would so publicly perpetuate a narrative that has been disproven over-and-over again.
However, as Raw Story reported on Monday, SLPOA Business manager Jeff Roorda – who issued the fiery statement, has a history of being disciplined for lying on police reports. Raw Story notes:
According to court documents, in 1997 Roorda was reprimanded for attempting “…to try to ‘cover’ for another police officer by filing a report that contained false statements as to what happened during a suspect’s apprehension and arrest. As a result of this false report, all charges against the defendant involved were dropped.” The court notes that Roorda was informed, “If it is ever determined again that you have lied in a police report, you will receive a more severe punishment, up to and including termination.”
Roorda was later terminated for lying about interactions with other police officers after accusing them of threatening and abusing him. Roorda’s charges were disproved by audio tapes of the conversations provided to investigators by Roorda himself.
The full statement was published by KSDK.com and reads as follows:
St. Louis, Missouri (November 30, 2014) – The St. Louis Police Officers Association is profoundly disappointed with the members of the St. Louis Rams football team who chose to ignore the mountains of evidence released from the St. Louis County Grand Jury this week and engage in a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory.
Five members of the Rams entered the field today exhibiting the “hands-up-don’t-shoot” pose that has been adopted by protestors who accused Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson of murdering Michael Brown. The gesture has become synonymous with assertions that Michael Brown was innocent of any wrongdoing and attempting to surrender peacefully when Wilson, according to some now-discredited witnesses, gunned him down in cold blood.
SLPOA Business Manager Jeff Roorda said, “now that the evidence is in and Officer Wilson’s account has been verified by physical and ballistic evidence as well as eye-witness testimony, which led the grand jury to conclude that no probable cause existed that Wilson engaged in any wrongdoing, it is unthinkable that hometown athletes would so publicly perpetuate a narrative that has been disproven over-and-over again.”
Roorda was incensed that the Rams and the NFL would tolerate such behavior and called it remarkably hypocritical. “All week long, the Rams and the NFL were on the phone with the St. Louis Police Department asking for assurances that the players and the fans would be kept safe from the violent protesters who had rioted, looted, and burned buildings in Ferguson. Our officers have been working 12 hour shifts for over a week, they had days off including Thanksgiving cancelled so that they could defend this community from those on the streets that perpetuate this myth that Michael Brown was executed by a brother police officer and then, as the players and their fans sit safely in their dome under the watchful protection of hundreds of St. Louis’s finest, they take to the turf to call a now-exonerated officer a murderer, that is way out-of-bounds, to put it in football parlance,” Roorda said.
The SLPOA is calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology. Roorda said he planned to speak to the NFL and the Rams to voice his organization’s displeasure tomorrow. He also plans to reach out to other police organizations in St. Louis and around the country to enlist their input on what the appropriate response from law enforcement should be. Roorda warned, “I know that there are those that will say that these players are simply exercising their First Amendment rights. Well I’ve got news for people who think that way, cops have first amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours. I’d remind the NFL and their players that it is not the violent thugs burning down buildings that buy their advertiser’s products. It’s cops and the good people of St. Louis and other NFL towns that do. Somebody needs to throw a flag on this play. If it’s not the NFL and the Rams, then it’ll be cops and their supporters.
This article originally appeared on theeverlastinggopstoppers.com and was used with permission.