Simon Tomlinson, Daily Mail, January 29, 2015
A brawl broke out during a meeting to discuss the conduct of police in the city where riots erupted after a black teenager was shot dead by a white officer.
The audience grew restless as police officers spoke out against a proposed civilian oversight board that would examine the force’s actions in the future at St Louis City Hall.
Missouri state Republican Jeff Roorda, who is also business manager of the city’s police union, reportedly became involved in a slanging match with meeting chairman Terry Kennedy.
Roorda, who was said to have been wearing a wristband in support of Darren Wilson, the ex-police officer who shot Michael Brown, then allegedly pushed a black woman as a melee erupted.
Video of the fracas reveals someone in the crowd shouting abuse at Roorda, telling him: ‘You white supremacist motherf*****. Get the f*** out of here, man!’
The meeting descended into chaos around an hour into proceedings when Roorda called for calm when an officer’s statement was interrupted by other attendees, it was reported by the St Louis Post-Dispatch.
Alderman Kennedy replied: ‘You do not tell me my function’, prompting Roorda to push his way through the crowd.
Witnesses claim police officers had to hold Roorda back from engaging with other attendees.
Alderman Antonio French, the main sponsor of the bill calling for civilian oversight of police, said the altercation proved how relations were still on a knife-edge since Brown’s shooting last year.
He tweeted: ‘We saw once again tonight how fractured our city remains.
‘We have a lot of work to do. I believe a strong civilian review board can help.
‘The behaviour of union official Jeff Roorda tonight was deplorable and disrespectful to the fine men and women he is supposed to represent.’