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Police Union Official Wearing ‘I Am Darren Wilson’ Wristband Starts Brawl At St. Louis Meeting

Jeff Roorda, the business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, interrupted a meeting at St. Louis City Hall Wednesday evening and sparked a melee when he pushed a young black woman to the ground. The meeting was held so St. Louis residents could openly discuss the possible formation of a civilian review board with a committee of aldermen. The board would oversee the city’s police force. Currently, St. Louis is one of the largest cities in the nation without any type of independent group looking at its police department.

Roorda, who came into prominence as a vocal defender of former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson after the shooting death of Michael Brown last August, showed up at the meeting wearing an ‘I Am Darren Wilson’ wristband. A large number of residents and activists showed up to the meeting in order to speak to the committee and let them know their support for the board. Eventually, police officers also spoke in front of the committee, expressing their dissatisfaction with the prospect of an independent body reviewing their department.

When some in the crowd showed their displeasure with the police officers’ testimony, and also noticed Roorda and others were wearing the wristbands, Roorda stood up and yelled at Alderman Terry Kennedy, the chairman of the public safety committee, to restore order to the meeting. Kennedy snapped back at the police union official, pointing out Roorda had no business telling him what to do. The two shouted back and forth for a short bit, causing the crowd to become more agitated. It was at this point that Roorda set off the entire room by pushing down a young black woman while attempting to charge at Kennedy.

Below is a blow-by-blow account of the incident from Kayla Reed, a Field Organizer with the Organization for Black Struggle.

 

 

Another person who was at the meeting tweeted out a picture of Roorda grabbing the young woman while trying to get at the alderman.


Of course, per Roorda, it was the “anti-police radicals” who started everything, and he is just a poor, innocent police union rep who was just trying to get the meeting back under control. Per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Roorda said, “”We spent the night hearing from anti-police radicals. We hear from two police officers and he (Kennedy) lets the place go wild.” According to KMOV, Roorda denied pushing anyone, but once again used the “anti-police radicals” line, saying “[t]wo or three other anti-police radicals rushed over and things escalated from there.”

Meanwhile, Cachet Currie, the woman Roorda pushed, told the news station a different story.

“I was literally just trying to leave the meeting and I got caught in whatever Roorda and Kennedy had going on in their exchange. Roorda just jumped out into the aisle, pushed me over, and tried to get to Kennedy. I’m like ‘wait a minute, don’t push me.’ Then he started going off on me, pushing me.”

Besides Reed, other activists and organizers in the area feel Roorda deliberately caused a scene at the meeting in order to disrupt progress with the civilian review board.  

 

Personally, if this was an attempt by Roorda to derail the independent review board of the police while simultaneously painting the protesters and activists as lawless radicals, I think this will fail in a big way. Much like Pat Lynch in New York, Roorda has been exposed as a grandstanding loudmouth who is doing more harm than good to the police officers he is supposed to represent. While there will be some cops who remain loyal to him, this stunt he pulled Wednesday night is going to cost him a ton of support, just like Lynch’s over-the-top statements about Bill de Blasio and NYC protesters have placed him in an unfavorable position.

All Roorda did was prove to citizens in the city that his police force desperately, desperately, desperately needs a civilian review board.

 

Image via Twitter

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