St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar is concerned “a rift” could be created if police officers are automatically branded as racist by critics.
Speaking to Fox News on Wednesday following a grand jury’s decision not to indict a New York City officer in Eric Garner’s death, Belmar said the mantra that police are bad is counterproductive.
“I think it is because it’s going to cause a rift at some point that may be very, very difficult for us to come back to. We are the 24-7 face of government here in law enforcement. We’re looking to solve problems. We’re looking to make sure that people understand we can’t arrest our way out of a problem,” Belmar said.
The National Bar Association, led by an attorney for Michael Brown’s family, says it filed a “lawsuit” with the Missouri Department of Public Safety demanding the revocation of Darren Wilson’s police officer license.
The department acknowledged receiving a document but said it is being treated as a complaint because the agency is not a venue for a suit. Spokesman Mike O’Connell said he could not reveal specifics from the document.
Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer, fatally shot Brown, an unarmed black teen, on Aug. 9, triggering nationwide protests. Wilson resigned from the force Nov. 29, five days after a St. Louis County grand jury decided not to indict him in Brown’s death.
Neil Bruntrager, an attorney for Wilson, said that his being a police officer “is off the table forever” but that, “Keeping his license in good standing is a matter of pride.” Bruntrager added, “He didn’t resign under any criminal charges and he didn’t do anything wrong.”
The association, which says it represents African-American lawyers and judges, is headed by Benjamin Crump, who represents Brown’s family.
It press release said it filed the document “on the grounds that he committed a criminal act ...”
The release says Wilson’s comment in a TV interview that Brown had “looked like a demon” led the association to “challenge his suitability to ever wear a badge and carry a gun ever again.”
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson is married, expecting a baby and contemplating his future now that a grand jury has decided not to indict him in the shooting death of unarmed black youth Michael Brown.
Since the shooting, Wilson has been in hiding. He described a solitary life with a small circle of people, much like the life described by George Zimmerman after he was acquitted of killing unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin in Florida.
"You have to take precautions, where you sit in a restaurant and where you drive," he said. "You have to make sure no one is following you."
If he goes out, he said, he has to be on guard for who is looking at him or looking too long.
Wilson said his conscience is clear. He said he would do everything the same if faced with Brown again.
"I did my job that day," he said.