St. Louis Police Captain Gets His Job Back after Being Fired over Burglary Investigation

By Byers, Christine | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), September 27, 2017 | Go to article overview

St. Louis Police Captain Gets His Job Back after Being Fired over Burglary Investigation


Byers, Christine, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


ST. LOUIS * The city's Civil Service Commission voted Tuesday to reinstate a St. Louis police captain who was fired after a controversial burglary investigation, giving him instead a written reprimand in the matter.

Then-Police Chief Sam Dotson put Capt. Ryan Cousins on forced leave in February 2016 after the burglary investigation. He was fired in May 2016.

Cousins, who is black, sued the department in March, claiming other officers, many of them white, blamed him to cover up their own offenses in the burglary investigation. At the time, Cousins' attorney Lynette Petruska called it "race-based scapegoating."

Petruska confirmed Tuesday that the commission had reinstated her client with a written reprimand but declined to make her client available for questions. Cousins will get back pay. She said she and her client would speak about the ruling during a news conference Wednesday.

Koran Addo, spokesman for Mayor Lyda Krewson, said the city would not comment on the decision because all the events in question occurred during a previous administration. But Addo confirmed the vote by the three-member Civil Service Commission was unanimous.

Cousins' firing centered on a burglary call in January 2016 at a home in the 8800 block of Lowell Street.

The 20-year police veteran was accused of ordering officers to alter reports and release a felon suspected of shooting at would-be burglars at a home there. Police put the man in handcuffs after discovering he was a felon; possession of a firearm by a felon is illegal.

Cousins, who was commander of the Sixth District, allegedly arrived and ordered officers to take the handcuffs off the man, return the gun to the man's wife, omit from reports any mention of shots being fired, and not process shell casings found at the scene as evidence.

But Cousins gives a different account in his lawsuit. He said white officers handcuffed the man, who is black, and searched the home without a warrant. …

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