The St. Louis Police Officer’s Association wants the NFL to discipline the St. Louis Rams players involved in “hands up, don’t shoot” displays at Sunday’s game. The group calls the displays “tasteless, offensive, and inflammatory.”
“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 group explained in a statement. “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.”
The group wants the NFL to discipline the players, which included Jared Cook, Kenny Britt, Stedman Bailey, Chris Givens, and Tavon Austin, all members of St. Louis’s receiving corps who made the gesture during pregame introductions, and Tre Mason, a rookie running back who struck the “hands up” pose after scoring a touchdown.
The Rams destroyed the Oakland Raiders 52-0 at the Edward Jones Dome in the heart of St. Louis on Sunday afternoon. The team denies any foreknowledge of the on-field demonstrations.
Last week, a grand jury declined to indict Wilson for the killing of Brown, a teenager involved in a convenience-store robbery immediately prior to his death. The decision prefaced riots, looting, and violence in Ferguson, Missouri. Wilson resigned from the Ferguson police force over the weekend.
“Our officers have been working 12 hour shifts for over a week,” the SLPOA’s Jeff Roorda noted. “[T]hey had days off including Thanksgiving cancelled so that they could defend this community from those on the streets that perpetuate this myth that Michael Brown was executed by a brother police officer and then, as the players and their fans sit safely in their dome under the watchful protection of hundreds of St. Louis’s finest, they take to the turf to call a now-exonerated officer a murderer, that is way out-of-bounds, to put it in football parlance.”