The St. Louis Police Officers Association is supporting an officer suspended pending a hearing over a controversial shooting even though its president, Ron Oldani, was part of a panel that upheld the suspension, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Police Chief Joe Mokwa suspended Officer William Sarti without pay for shooting a fleeing suspect whose wife and children, 1, 3 and 5, were with him in a car. They were not hit.
“We got limited facts – I can’t discuss what went on,” Oldani said. “Even if all three of us wanted to put him back to work, the chief wasn’t going to do that.”
“The (Police Officers) Association has tremendous concern with the appearance of influence of Chief Mokwa … especially in light of what clearly was an effort by a police officer to protect himself from serious injury or death,” Oldani said. “The Association is also deeply troubled by the call to arms suggested by the Rev. B.T. Rice. This type of inflammatory commentary is divisive and counterproductive,” the statement says.
Rice said he had considered urging some people to take advantage of the state’s law allowing the carrying of concealed weapons to protect themselves from police; he toned down his remarks later.