ST. LOUIS — Two St. Louis-area police officers have been suspended by their departments in incidents related to the unrest in Ferguson.
A St. Louis County officer who had been assigned to the streets of Ferguson was suspended after a Youtube video of him making incendiary comments surfaced. A Glendale, Mo., officer was suspended after posting on Facebook that he thought the Ferguson protesters should be “put down like rabid dogs.”
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said Officer Dan Page, a 35-year veteran of the department, has been suspended pending a review by the internal affairs unit.
The video was brought to Belmar’s attention by CNN reporter Don Lemon, who had previously complained to the department that Page shoved him.
The video of Page was apparently made in 2012 before a group called the Oath Keepers of St. Louis and St. Charles. It is unclear where it was shot.
Belmar told the Post-Dispatch that Page’s comments defaming President Barack Obama, the U.S. Supreme Court, Muslims and various sexual orientations would likely have triggered disciplinary review for being “beyond the scope of acceptable police conduct.”
But it was Page’s comments in the video describing himself, in Belmar’s words, as “an indiscriminate killer, that it didn’t matter what your race or background was” that most concerned the police chief.
“With the comments on killing, that was obviously something that deeply disturbed me immediately,” Belmar said.
An internal review will start Monday, and Page will not be doing any police work until internal affairs makes an official decision on whether the officer should be suspended, Belmar said.
Glendale Officer Matthew Papper was suspended after posting on Facebook that the Ferguson protesters were “a burden on society and a blight on the community,” according to posts preserved by news and opinion website “The Daily Caller.” Another post that appears to come from Pappert says the “protestors should have been put down like rabid dogs the first night.”
Jeffrey Beaton, chief of police in the small St. Louis County suburb of roughly 6,000 people, said the comments of Pappert were brought to his attention Friday morning and “an internal investigation was immediately initiated.” Pappert was immediately suspended until the investigation is complete, Beaton said.
“These type of allegations could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination,” he said.
On Wednesday, a St. Ann police lieutenant was suspended after pointing a semi-automatic assault rifle at a protester in Ferguson the night before, police said. Lt. Ray Albers pointed the gun at a peaceful protester after a “verbal exchange.” A county sergeant witnessed the incident, forced the officer to lower his gun and escorted him away.
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