"Jeff Roorda Has Gone Too Far!" An Editorial by Bassem Masri

Special to HandsUpUnited.org

For years now, the the police have intimidated and assaulted Saint Louis natives to get their way. Last night was no different.  While most residents showed up to city hall to discuss the creation of a civilian oversight board, St. Louis' finest showed up to disrupt the democratic process.  From the testimony of police officers, to the show put on by State Rep and Executive of the Police Association, Jeff Roorda, to the response by police, last night's meeting revealed a lot. Mostly that St Louis PD consistently racially profile and scare our communities when things aren't going their way.

 "I'm going back to my neighborhood which is being hot spot policed as we speak" said Torry Russell co-founder of Hands Up United. It seemed as if most members of the citizenry were in agreement on one thing - the police need oversight. This disturbed the Police Association and their leader, Roorda. 

As the night progressed it seemed Roorda was getting more and more upset. Every police officer who came and testified on record, oddly, had the same statements. Those statements were read as if they were puppets. The puppeteer was Jeff Roorda. 

Throughout the years, Roorda has developed a reputation for shadiness. In 1997, he filed a false report to cover up for another police officer. The defendant in the case was cleared of all charges and an official warning was given to Roorda. He later went on record with the Post Dispatch and said, "In general, cameras have been bad for law enforcement and the communities they serve. It causes constant second guessing by the courts and the media." Another incident he downplayed was when an St. Louis officer beat a man who was handcuffed. Roorda went on record saying, "It's one forearm blow as he is trained to do."

Accountability is a two way street. This man has no respect for the law or the citizen. And last night, Roorda showed his lack of respect once again. 

As an officer's testimony finished,  Mr. Roorda got up and criticized Alderman Terry Kennedy for how he "handled" the meeting. Mr. Kennedy went on to tell Roorda, "Excuse me, first of all you do not tell me my function." At that moment, a woman was getting up to walk out and was assaulted by Roorda. 

His interaction with the woman was not his first outburst. 

He tried his hardest to provoke protesters all night. He went as far as to come and kneel in front of the protesters taunting them with his "I Am Darren Wilson" bracelet. When this failed to provoke a response, and it seemed the meeting wasn't going his way, he had his altercation with Alderman Kennedy. 

Who protects us from our "protectors" and how far are we willing to let them twist the law? We see nothing but resistance from an entity that will not hold itself nor its officers accountable. This should be disturbing from a citizen’s point of view and should inspire action from within the community. We say "Enough is Enough!" Not only do we need a review board but also the police union needs to be dismantled completely. Jeff Roorda, and his cronies, should be held accountable for their premeditated attempt to incite a reaction from protesters and for the assault of innocent bystanders.  This assault on a citizen has crossed a line.