Two St. Louis Area Police Officers Suspended for Conduct Off the Job
Officials have reported that two St. Louis area police officers have been suspended by their respective forces for unprofessional conduct committed off the job.
One, Officer Dan Page of the St. Louis County Police Department, is the same officer seen on video attempting to move CNN's Don Lemon during the recent protests in Ferguson.
Officer Page, an Army Sgt. Major with several tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, is seen on video making harsh comments about affirmative action, gays, Muslims, and President Obama. He is also seen warning women that constantly "jamming their husbands up" on domestic charges is a bad idea.
When CNN's Don Lemon alerted St. Louis County Chief Jon Belmar about the pushing incident during the protests, the chief said he felt that the officer's conduct was not outside the department's code of conduct. But when this video surfaced, the chief found he had to apologize for the officer's conduct and immediately placed the officer on suspension, pending a full internal investigation.
The video was made as Officer Page addressed an audience at an Oath Keepers meeting, a group made up of current and retired police officials dedicated, they say, to upholding the Constitution. The group's website says its members "will not obey unconstitutional orders."
At one point in his off-duty address, Page tells those gathered, "Policemen are very cynical. I know I am. I hate everybody. I'm into diversity. I kill everybody."
The officer made several statements about killing and how he is not averse to doing it.
Chief Belmer apologized for Officer Page's comments, explaining that they violated the department’s code of conduct. But the chief said Page’s comments were "not indicative of the St. Louis County Police Department, they're not indicative of the officers that he works beside, and frankly, he's let them down."
Once the video went public, officer Page, a 35-year veteran of the force, was relieved of his duties and has been ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination.
A second area officer, Glendale Officer Matthew Pappert, was suspended from his department after bosses found some unsavory postings on social media.
Pappert, an officer since 2008, had posted several entries on Facebook revealing his frustration with the riots and his negative opinion of citizens in Ferguson, a community 15 miles from his own town.
In one post, Pappert called protesters "a burden on society and a blight on the community." In another, he scoffed that "protesters should have been put down like rabid dogs the first night." In a more worrisome post, Pappert wrote, "Where is a Muslim with a backpack when you need them?"
Jeffery Beaton, Glendale police chief, suspended the officer when he became aware of the Facebook posts on Friday. He also said that if there were similar posts on his Facebook page, Pappert could face further disciplinary measures, including dismissal from the force.
But Pappert seems to have a good record with the Glendale department. In 2009, Pappert received the City of Glendale Community Service Award. He also won the 2013 Kirkwood American Legion Post and Kirkwood Optimist Club Public Safety Award.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.