A cop assigned to the streets in Ferguson last month was forced to resign after video caught the veteran cop addressing a group of peaceful dissenters and journalists – with a tirade of F-bomb vulgarity and punctuating his point with the barrel of his assault rifle.
Writes NBC News: “A suburban St. Louis cop who was suspended for pointing his semi-automatic rifle and threatening protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, has resigned, the police chief said. Lt. Ray Albers, who was put on indefinite leave from the St. Ann Police Department after being caught on a cellphone video that went viral, quit the job he had held since 1994 on Thursday.”
On August 19, the 20-year veteran cop raised his weapon in an already high-tension environment where many had a negative perception of the police, and told a group of unarmed individuals that he would “f**king kill them.” When the individuals asked for his name, Albers replied: “Go f**k yourself.”
Video of the incident can be seen here. (graphic language)
The appalling video went viral, and department heads from the police department in St. Ann – an inner-ring suburb of St. Louis – placed Albers on suspension. One week later, he was allowed to resign under strong public outcry for him to be sacked and prosecuted.
At the time of the incident, St. Ann police chief Aaron Jimenez, while not dismissing his officer’s aggressive actions, called what Albers did “totally justifiable.”
“He saw three to four suspects with bandanas on, and saw one of them raise a gun towards him,” Jimenez told the Huffington Post. “That made him draw his weapon up to the crowd, and he was scanning and moving that weapon back and forth, trying to assess the scene... Him seeing the gun in the crowd, he had every right to protect himself in fear of danger until he assessed the scene.” Jimenez said Albers had water and urine tossed at him.
Later, the police chief backed down from those words after the city's board of police commissioners met and recommended that Albers resign or be fired. It could not be confirmed that anyone actually was carrying a gun in the crowd Albers saw, and the group that Albers accosted were individuals simply out with cameras – "citizen journalists," as described by Jimenez.
“I'm not condoning [Albers'] behavior whatsoever,” Jimenez said on Aug. 28. “It's very hard because he is a good friend, he was a good boss. There's going to be those who didn't like him who are high-fiving now. Altogether it's going to be a black eye on the city of St. Ann because he represented our department.”
Jimenez said the furor over the strong-armed tactics of local and state police brought in to quell the violent uprisings, rioting and lootings following Michael Brown’s death pushed the board, in his opinion, to recommend Albers’ dismissal, rather than a suspension.
“He solved burglaries, homicides, stealings, you name it, the guy did it,” Jimenez said. “He chose to work 14-hour days. Bottom line though is: I have to do what's best for the citizens.”
Albers wasn't the first officer to fall in the aftermath of the Ferguson riots.
According to the St. Louis Dispatch, a “Glendale police officer suspended last Friday after commenting on Facebook that he thought Ferguson protesters should be ‘put down like rabid dogs’ has been fired, officials say.”
Glendale Officer Matthew Pappert – who also wrote on the social media site: “Where is a Muslim with a backpack when you need them?” – was fired this past week. Another St. Louis cop was fired after video, recorded before the Michael Brown shooting, surfaced of the cop's hate-filled speech against gays and Muslims. A multi-million, class-action lawsuit has also been filed by a group of individuals were were allegedly physically assaulted by police without cause.
Fore more on those stories, see: