Tension between civilians and police officers flared once again in St. Louis. As reported by KMOV.com, an altercation broke out during a city hall meeting Wednesday to discuss the possibility of creating a civilian review board so citizens could have a more direct line to police.
According to CNN.com, the shoving and shouting match started when Jeff Roorda, the business manager of the city’s police union, and a woman appeared to get into a confrontation. Immediately after, the room exploded in a large tirade of profanity and shouts as civilians and officers alike began to surround the two. The lack of clear visual evidence provides two sides of the story.
Here’s what Roorda told reporters:
“As I tried to exit the aisle I was in, the woman was standing in the way,” Roorda said. “She began elbowing me and pushing, trying to keep me from getting out. As I tried to exit, she continued to do that. Two or three other anti-police radicals rushed over and things escalated from there.”
Roorda was wearing an “I am Darren Wilson” bracelet to exercise his first amendment rights and to show his support to the police force. He called the hearing a “sham” that lacked order and said members of the anti-police crowd did not like when he asked the committee chair to bring order to the crowd.
The bill sponsor, Alderman Antonio French, placed most of the blame on Roorda saying his behavior was “deplorable.” However, he did acknowledge the tensions in the city. “We saw once again tonight how fractured our city remains. We have a lot of work to do,” he tweeted. “I believe a strong civilian review board can help.”
Catchet Currie, the woman who claimed to have been pushed, said Roorda is the one initially who pushed her.
“I was literally just trying to leave the meeting and I got caught in whatever Roorda and Kennedy had going on in their exchange,” said Currie. “Roorda just jumped out into the aisle, pushed me over, and tried to get to Kennedy. I’m like ‘wait a minute, don’t push me.’ Then he started going off on me, pushing me. Some man grabbed me by the hair, just started trying to throw punches at me. From there it just went wild.”
The meeting was adjourned after several minutes of pushing and shoving.