For Comments Contact: Jeff Roorda at 314-420-3861
St. Louis Police Officers Association Expresses Outrage over “Third Down Punt” to the FBI over Justified Police Shooting
St. Louis, Missouri (December 19, 2013) – The St. Louis Police Officers Association publicly denounced the Police Department for what they called a “third down” punt in the internal investigation of a police shooting from last April.
The suspect in the case, Cary Ball, a convicted felon armed with a stolen firearm, fled from the police in April in his car and then on foot. By all accounts at the scene from police officers and witnesses alike, Ball had a gun in his hand as the pursuing officers closed in on the fleeing felon. Both officers involved in the shooting reported that Ball turned on them with the gun in his hand, presenting what the Association characterized as “an eminent threat of danger to the officers and every bystander in the area.”
Association business manager Jeff Roorda said, “this is what officers are trained to do. You encounter a deadly threat; you neutralize that threat. The suspect made a series of bad choices that lead to his death. He chose to flee from the police in his car; he chose to arm himself when he bailed out of his car; he chose not to toss his gun as officers chased on foot; and he chose to draw his weapon when the officers closed in on him. Cary Ball knew that there was only one likely outcome when he made those choices. I don’t understand why anyone else is surprised by this outcome. Bad choices have bad outcomes.”
Roorda said that the Police Chief is running for cover in his call for an FBI review of the investigation of the shooting. Roorda pointed out, “the Department’s homicide division investigated the shooting and concluded that the officers were justified in their use of deadly force. The homicide file was turned over to the Internal Affairs Division and the Circuit Attorney’s Office for review. But, instead of letting the established process take its course, the Department has decided to punt on third down and turn the ball over to the FBI. It’s not just guilty until proven innocent, it’s guilty until proven innocent again and again and again and again.” Roorda added, “this whole cut-and-run approach to this investigation is the result of the fact that not every witness saw the same thing. Guess what? That happens every time you have more than one witness. That’s why you bring in the best investigators we have in the Department, our homicide detectives, to sort through all of the witness accounts and get to the truth. That’s what they did and the truth was that Cary Ball left these two brave officers no other choice but to use deadly force. To punt this case to the FBI undermines the credibility of every investigation our homicide detectives conduct, whether it’s a justified police shooting or the brutal the murder of one of our neighbors. No good can come of this.”
Roorda added that the officers involved in the shooting are highly regarded, decorated officers who shouldn’t have to prove their innocence over and over and over. “They’ve already been cleared once. How many times do they and their families have to go through this,” Roorda asked.
Roorda also questioned the release of the officers’ past disciplinary records to the media noting that the release very likely violates department policy and state law. He said the Association was considering legal remedies that may be available on behalf of the officers for the unauthorized release of their records.