Monday, December 01, 2014

12271: Ramming A Protest.

From The New York Daily News…

St. Louis police officers upset over Rams players’ ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ gesture before game, demand apology

St. Louis Police Officers Association called for a ‘very public apology’ and wants the players involved disciplined by the team or NFL after five Rams players came onto the field with their hands raised in a gesture of solidarity with protesters in nearby Ferguson, Mo.

By Nicole Hensley, Reuven Blau, Bill Hutchinson | NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

St. Louis cops are demanding “a very public apology” from their hometown football team after five Rams players did a pregame “hands-up-don’t-shoot” gesture of solidarity with protesters in nearby Ferguson.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association immediately condemned the players, saying it was “profoundly disappointed” in the coordinated move, which came during pregame introductions Sunday at St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome.

The five black players — Jared Cook, Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Stedman Bailey and Chris Given — came onto the field with their hands raised, a pose that has become symbol of the ongoing protest over the police shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown.

“I just think there has be to a change,” said tight end Cook. “There has to be change that starts with the people that are most influential around the world.”

The action came during the Rams’ first home game since the Nov. 24 announcement that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown, 18. The players’ gesture also came on day after Wilson resigned from the Ferguson Police Department.

Some witnesses said Brown had his hands raised when he was shot to death, but others, including Wilson, told the grand jury that Brown was charging after the cop when he was shot.

The St. Louis police union statement said the players “chose to ignore the mountains of evidence” released by the grand jury and engaged “in a display that police officers around the nation found tasteless, offensive and inflammatory.”

The group called for the players to be disciplined and accused the Rams and the NFL of being hypocritical.

“We respect and understand the concerns of all individuals who have expressed views on this tragic situation,” the NFL said in a statement to The News.

Union business manager Jeff Roorda said it was “way out-of-bounds” for the players to conduct an on-field protest while being protected by officers who have been working 12-hour shifts and even gave up their Thanksgiving holiday to defend their community.

Meanwhile, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles said Sunday that Wilson did not receive a severance package when he resigned.

Wilson left the force Saturday in response to death threats against other officers, his lawyer said Sunday.

“The information we had was that there would be actions targeting the Ferguson (police) department or buildings in Ferguson related to the police department,” his attorney, Neil Bruntrager, told the Associated Press.

Wilson was on the force for three years.

Wilson’s resignation letter stated that his “continued employment may put residents and police officers of the city of Ferguson at risk, which is a circumstance I cannot allow.”

Nicole Hensley reported from Ferguson, Mo.

With Stephen Rex Brown, Bernie Augustine and News Wire Services

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