Players from the St. Louis Rams football team entered the game yesterday with their hands up to show solidarity with protesters.
The St. Louis Police Officers Association saw this and completely lost their minds.
What follows is one of the most insensitive, asinine, irresponsible and ill-advised statements an organization has ever issued in the history of official statements.
“The SLPOA is calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology. [SLPOA Business Manager] 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.“
If your immediate reaction to this was something along the lines of “what the fuck?” — you and I have something in common.
At several points in the SLPOA statement, Jeff Roorda, the group’s business manager, made a point that evidence and testimony presented to the grand jury proves that Michael Brown was not innocent and that Darren Wilson did nothing wrong. But it doesn’t prove that. A grand jury is not a trial jury and their decision not to indict Darren Wilson does not mean he isn’t guilty. Furthermore, to accept the grand jury’s decision as legitimate and to say that the case is closed would require that you believe every word of Wilson’s childish comic book testimony in which he refereed to Brown as a “demon” who Hulked out to charge through the officer’s bullets.
It’s clear as day that District Attorney (and prosecutor) Robert McCulloch did everything in his power to avoid an indictment, first by calling a grand jury to begin with and secondly by systematically discrediting evidence against Darren Wilson in front of the grand jury. A prosecutor did this. A prosecutor did everything in his power to ensure that the perp would walk away.
I was going to say that McCulloch is a confirmed incompetent, but that depends on your perspective. If his goal was not to return an indictment, he did a fine job. But I digress.
The St. Louis Police Officers Association is demanding an apology from the five Rams players who dared to show solidarity with everyone who believes the district attorney, the Ferguson police department, and the SLPOA are corrupt institutions with conflicts of interest that do not serve or protect; those who believe the local police force are the real “violent thugs.”
As Deadspin points out, SLPOA Business Manage Jeff Roorda is a former officer who was fired for repeatedly falsifying police reports.
The NFL has officially declined to punish the players.