Former Cop Who Called for NFL to Discipline Players for Ferguson Solidarity Has Past of Lying to Protect Crooked Cops
A member of the St. Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA) -- which demanded yesterday that the NFL discipline five players who marched onto the field at the opening of a game to show support for the Ferguson protestors -- was reprimanded and later fired from a Missouri police department for lying to cover up for another officer.
At the opening of yesterday’s game in St. Louis, Rams players Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, Jared Cook, Chris Givens, and Kenny Britt stood together on the field with their arms above their heads, displaying the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture of protestors in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The town has experienced days of unrest following the grand jury decision not to indict the white police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.
Shortly after the game, SLPOA business manager Jeff Roorda issued a statement asking for the NFL and the Rams to discipline the five players and compel them to make a public apology.
Roorda said: "Now that the evidence is in and Officer Wilson's account has been verified by physical and ballistic evidence as well as eyewitness 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."
According to court documents, Roorda was fired from the Arnold, Missouri police department, where he served as a police officer for 11 years, for misconduct after having been reprimanded years earlier for lying in a police report. According to the documents, Roorda filed false statements in a police report about a suspect's arrest, in order to cover up for another officer. As a result of the false report, all charges against the defendant were dropped. Roorda was then fired after falsely accusing other officers of threatening and abusing him, according to the court documents.
Roorda served briefly as the police chief in Kimmswick, Missouri before he was elected to the state's House of Representatives. As an elected official, Roorda introduced legislation that would prevent the public from obtaining records and documents containing the name of an officer involved in a shooting, unless the officer was charged with a crime.
As the business manager for SLPOA, Roorda resisted attempts to equip police officers with dash and body cameras. He was also behind a fundraiser that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown. Wilson recently resigned from the Ferguson Police Department.
In a statement condemning the gesture by the NFL players, SLPOA said:
"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."
However, demonstrators in Ferguson and around the country have criticized the evidence presented to the grand jury and question the way police and prosecutors investigated and tried the case.
On Saturday, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell reported that the St. Louis assistant prosecuting attorney handed the grand jury a 1979 Missouri statute that justified the use of force if a suspect was attempting to flee from police. The statute was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1985.
O’Donnell said of the mistake by the prosecution:
"She was handing them something that had not been the law in Missouri during her entire legal career. But it was very helpful to officer Darren Wilson that the assistant district attorney handed the grand jury an old, unconstitutional law, which said incorrectly that it is legal to shoot fleeing suspects simply because they are fleeing. By handing the grand jury that unconstitutional law, the assistant district attorney dramatically lowered the standard by which Darren Wilson could be judged."