Witnesses say chaos erupted at St. Louis City Hall when a woman was pushed by a leader of the police union. (YouTube Screenshot)
St. Louis, Mo., police reportedly clashed with protesters at City Hall late-Wednesday during a meeting about the creation of a civilian review board that would give residents a direct line to officers, KMOV News 4 reports.
The incident began, witnesses told the news station, when a woman, who was preparing to leave the meeting, was allegedly pushed aside by Jeff Roorda, business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, who was sporting an “I am Darren Wilson” bracelet.
Wilson is the White Ferguson, Mo. police officer, who shot and killed Michael Brown, 18, who Black and unarmed, last summer. The shooting sparked ongoing protests over police violence in the Black community.
Roorda was addressing 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy when the scuffle broke out, KMOV News 4 reports:
A News 4 camera was inside the City Hall room and captured the hectic scene. At the start of the video you can hear St. Louis Police Officer Curtis Burgdorf addressing the committee along with grumblings from the crowd. Seconds later, Roorda asks Alderman Kennedy to bring the crowd to order. When the camera shifts to capture Roorda, he begins walking towards the front of the room when he encounters Cachet Currie, the woman who claims she was pushed. When Roorda and Currie come near one another the scuffle ensues. From News 4’s camera angle it is hard to tell who initiates contact.
“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.”
Roorda called the hearing a “sham” that lacked any type of order. He said the anti-police crowd members did not like it when he asked the committee chair to bring the crowd to order.
Roorda denies shoving Currie, the news site writes. The meeting adjourned after the scuffle.