ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- Chaos erupted in St. Louis City Hall during a public meeting regarding a bill that would create a civilian oversight board for the police department. Several people were seen pushing a pulling each other after an exchange of words between Alderman Terry Kennedy and St. Louis Police Association Business Manager Jeff Roorda.
During Wednesday’s meeting, several people expressed concerns about police handling complaints internally. Many of their comments were met with applause. When a few police officers spoke out against the bill they were heckled. That is when the tension between Roorda and Kennedy grew.
Seconds later the meeting turned into a chaotic scene. No one was hurt. Kennedy has been pushing for a civilian oversight board to independently review police complaints for about a decade. He says it is long overdue, especially since the events in Ferguson. Roorda has called Kennedy’s efforts an “attack” on police. “He hears from 35 anti-police radicals,” Roorda said. “And when two police officers talk he lets the place go wild.”
Kennedy responded to Roorda’s criticism after the meeting. “I’ve had several people come up to me to thank me for maintaining decorum in this meeting by showing respect to individuals who came forward,” Kennedy Said. “It is unfortunate that the city has these kinds of divisions.”
Roorda has been one of the more outspoken supporters of Darren Wilson; in fact, he wore a Wilson wristband at Wednesday’s meeting, according to our partners at the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
It’s unclear the St. Louis Board of Alderman will vote on the bill.
Many other cities across the nation have similar civilian oversight boards, including Kansas City.