Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ex-St. Ann Officer Can Be Disciplined for Pointing Gun at Ferguson Protesters, Commission Rules

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ex-St. Ann Officer Can Be Disciplined for Pointing Gun at Ferguson Protesters, Commission Rules

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * A state commission has ruled that authorities can discipline a former St. Ann police officer who pointed a semi- automatic rifle at protesters in Ferguson and swore at them during protests that followed the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014.

Raymond D. Albers was an active duty lieutenant when he was caught on video Aug. 19, 2014, pointing the weapon at protesters in Ferguson, swearing at them and apparently threatening to kill them. Albers was one of dozens of officers from area police departments assisting Ferguson police during the protests.

The video shows Albers pointing a gun at protesters and scanning the crowd with his gun raised.

Members of that crowd verbally confront the officer, who appears to say, "I will (expletive) kill you. Get back."

Asked his name, he responded, "Go (expletive) yourself."

As reporters gather, another St. Louis County officer arrives and uses his hand to lower the first officer's rifle, pointing it to the ground.

The ACLU wrote a letter the next day asking the head of the Missouri Highway Patrol to remove the officer involved. At that point, the highway patrol was in charge of security in the Ferguson protests.

St. Ann police suspended Albers without pay. He resigned later that month. Albers had worked with the department since 1994.

The Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission ruled Aug. 4 that Albers committed third-degree assault and harassment and acted with "moral turpitude and reckless disregard for the safety of the public or any person" while on duty. The commission ruled Albers is "subject to discipline" for the offenses.

"Given his prior experience as a police officer, we conclude that a reasonable person in Albers' shoes would recognize an 'unreasonable risk' and a 'high degree of probability' that the safety of the public would or could be jeopardized if a weapon were pointed at persons in a crowd while threatening them," the commission ruled. …

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