Angry St. Louis Police Officers Association Is Angry

Earlier today, five St. Louis Rams players came onto the field in the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose. This pose has been synonymous with protests in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s killing. Needless to say, the St. Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA) is furious. The group has gone so far as to issue a press release indicating just how displeased they are. It includes this:

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.

Roorda, in this case, is Jeff Roorda, the SLPOA’s Business Manager.

Although there is plenty here worth exploring – like, for example, how was it exactly that the SLPOA decided that its business manager should be at the front of the line to speak publicly for the group? – the source of the majority of my confusion is this: what would the SLPOA like people to do exactly?

Even if SLPOA (obviously) doesn’t agree with the agree with the (justifiable) outrage at the grand jury’s decision, the SLPOA is apparently proposing that even asking the implied question that comes along with the “hands up, don’t shoot” pose be considered out of bounds.

Here we must remember that the entire point of the “hands up, don’t shoot” protest is that having one’s hands up is supposed to be most peaceful possible position. The reason that “hands up, don’t shoot” ended up being a major rallying cry was to remind officials that Michael Brown was, by almost every available eyewitness account (check the penultimate column here), adopting the most peaceful possible position as he was being shot at. If that stance didn’t work, in other words, what would? Those five football players were asking the same question.

The SLPOA proposes that they be punished for doing so. I suppose that is easier though. Heaven forbid that a group like the SLPOA takes the time necessary to bind itself with something approximating an answer.

Update! I somehow managed to miss the part where Roorda is himself a former officer who was fired after repeatedly getting caught making false claims. I italicized that last part just in case it was necessary.

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39 thoughts on “Angry St. Louis Police Officers Association Is Angry

  1. I would guess police officers so often tell people to get on the ground with their hands behind their heads because they think that is the most unthreatening (peaceful seems maybe a bit beside the point) position a person can adopt. However, I don’t think Wilson instructed him to do that.

    I would say that it’s worth noting that animals and people seek to make themselves bigger and move toward an antagonist when they are trying to be threatening in order to scare a threat away. The intent of having hands up is absolutely meant to show surrender, but the effect, we shouldn’t assume I don’t think, isn’t necessarily to be in fact make oneself absolutely the least threatening on can possibly be.

    THAT being said, this response from the SLPOA is absolutely over the top and ridiculous. Self-parody. More like SLPOS.

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  2. The SLOPA simply want everyone to shut up and go away and how dare people disagree with the Grand Jury decision and exercise their free speech rights and given by the Constitution. They are showing their anti-civil liberty tendencies.

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  3. At the risk of being a killjoy, I’m not certain that the SLPOA is really a “thing”. The press release seemed so absurdly unprofessional that I struggle to imagine it was penned by even a quasi-professional organization. Searching for the group turns up a bunch of articles related to today’s actions by the Rams, some completely unrelated groups with similar names, a FaceBook page that doesn’t seem real, and links to Jeff Roorda. Roorda appears to be a local politician who was once a police officer before being fired and may or may not be an officer elsewhere in Missouri.

    It occurs to me that he may be the only — or perhaps one of a very small few — member of the SLPOA.

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    • I think I agree. I thought the people at this link (slpoa.org) had something on their site or letterhead that they were the local chapter of the FOP, but googling now shows that the local chapter homepage is slcpa.org (St Louis *County* Police Association). SLPOA may have been a quasi troll the whole time.

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      • A bit more research tells me that this guy isn’t a troll as he proposed legislation that would make private any information related to police shootings that didn’t go to trial. So he seems VERY serious about protecting cops at any and all costs. He just doesn’t seem to have much support or represent a legitimate organization.

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      • He is definitely not a troll. He’s been front and center on the police side of this since August, and is good buds with Nixon, who campaigned for him this fall.

        And lest there be any mistake, he’s a Democrat.

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      • “Troll” in the sense that he calls himself the SLPOA, when he really speaks for no one but himself. It’s as if you called yourself the New York Preschool Educational Association.

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  4. Well I’ve got news for people who think that way, cops have first amendment rights too, and we plan to exercise ours.

    Not an empty threat given the incident causing this little ruckus.

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  5. Regarding Mike Brown giving up in the most peaceful position, you must have ignored all evidence and missed the other part of the statement:

    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.”

    It’s your word (the same as a handful of now-discredited “eyewitnesses” who read it on their Facebook News Feed) against his word (corroborated by every shred of evidence and credible eyewitness testimony). His word wins.

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      • I find it fascinating that when an African American man is accused of a violent crime, we are told that witnesses are often mistaken and when it is a while police officer, “Sixteen witnesses said his hands were up. Two didn’t.”

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      • We have a long history of dismissing the testimony of black witnesses as unreliable. It wasn’t by accident that the tape of the white construction workers caused such a stir on both “sides” of the case.

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      • I’m not sure how the fact that witnesses make mistakes should adjust our heuristic here. My baselines assumption is that the thing more witnesses agree on is more likely to be true, all else held equal.

        So let’s introduce the fact that witnesses lie and make mistakes. How should it change my weighting of the accounts? Should it invert the logic so we go with whatever version of the story the fewest witnesses agree to? Or is it just a background fact that likely affects both sets of witnesses roughly equally? I’m going with the latter.

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    • His word wins.

      Man, with all the impressive work you did in the lead up I was hoping for something more robust than this. Frankly, I’m disappointed and you should be ashamed of yourself.

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    • Umm no snatch. It is deeply inaccurate to say all the evidence supported Wilson. Not even close. You can argue there was evidence on both sides but to say all the “credible” evidence supported Wilson is cow poo. Unless you define “credible” as evidence that supports Wilson.

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    • “It’s your word (the same as a handful of now-discredited “eyewitnesses” who read it on their Facebook News Feed) against his word (corroborated by every shred of evidence and credible eyewitness testimony). His word wins.”

      Actually, wrong. It wasn’t even corroborated by every shred of the evidence and testimony which the defense lawyer prosecutor allowed the grand jury to see.

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      • I did. I wonder to what extent they’ll be followed. They certainly make police work more difficult, and the police are the final arbiters of all of this stuff.

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  6. “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 that means we can make those thugs STFU.”

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  7. Cops don’t like it when mundanes get uppity. Cops think they should just keep their place and stay silent. After all, safety of the cops is paramount.

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  8. Roorda has also been pushing for a law that would allow police departments to not release the names of officers who kill people, and has fought against the use of cameras to record police. He also defended the officer in this video (warning, it’s disturbing) by saying that the victim “lunged” at the officer. If you can bring yourself to watch the video, you will see how utterly absurd that is.

    So according to his moral calculus, a few guys holding their hands up at a football game is much, much worse than cops attacking and killing people and suffering no consequences, not even the release of their names.

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  9. For the record, I make sure that I don’t support the NFL because of all of the domestic violence. It has nothing to do with not supporting the people who were protesting the shooting.

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  10. I love this. Absolute best advertising in the world to turn this into a big deal. Such a simple act of civil disobedience, hands up don’t shoot. Anyone can do it, anywhere; without speaking a word, communicate so much. It reminds me of holding the stork pose in the public square in White Lotus by John Hersey.

    Thank you, disgraced Officer Joorga. You’re an inspiring fascist.

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  11. I found this sentence to be almost charming in its oblivious awfulness:

    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.

    IOW: Remember, we are white and affluent, and those people aren’t – so before you get all outraged about the murder of someone who didn’t even have very much money, for crying out loud, maybe give a little thought to which side your bread is buttered on.

    (SLPOA logo at the bottom of the page: A police badge surrounded by the words “blood money is still money, ya buncha ingrates”)

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  12. The comment about taking the SLPOA’s side because they have money to spend is so tone deaf that The Onion would reject it for being ridiculous.

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