A suburban St. Louis police officer was suspended after being caught on video Tuesday pointing a gun at peaceful protesters and members of the media while threatening to kill them.
Lt. Ray Albers, a 20-year veteran of the St. Ann police force, pointed a semi-automatic rifle at a group of people filming the protests in Ferguson, according to the New York Daily News.
“My hands are up bro, my hands are up,” a reporter, using screen name “Rebelutionary_Z,” can be heard saying in the video.
Albers spun around, keeping the rifle at shoulder level.
“Get the f— away from, get the f— away from me,” he said. “I will f—ing kill you, get back!” he yelled while moving in on the group.
The reporters were dumbfounded over what they were hearing.
“You’re gonna kill him?” one photojournalist said in the video. “What’s your name sir?”
Albers continued to move around the group.
“Go f— yourself,” he said, still holding up his gun.
Finding his remarks humorous, the group taunted the cop, saying, “Your name’s ‘go f— yourself?’ Ok, go f— yourself. Thank you Officer Go F— Yourself.”
Another officer arrived and diffused the situation.
(Warning: Graphic language)
St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez told the Huffington Post Albers has been suspended indefinitely without pay, but the chief defended Albers for raising his gun, saying he saw someone in the crowd with a gun.
“He saw three to four suspects with bandanas on, and saw one of them raise a gun towards him,” he said. “That made him draw his weapon up to the crowd, and he was scanning and moving that weapon back and forth, trying to assess the scene. … Him seeing the gun in the crowd, he had every right to protect himself in fear of danger until he assessed the scene.”
Jimenez told officers before going to Ferguson that there would be people trying to provoke them into saying something, adding, “Whether you’re a pedestrian or protesters, you have to be professional, and [Albers’] actions weren’t in any way, shape or form.”
Albers was wrong not to give his name when asked, he said.
“When he was asked the name, you need to be giving your name so they know who to contact,” the chief said. “So when he said, ‘Go F yourself,’ that was uncalled for too.”
Of course the incident prompted a hashtag on Twitter, with this tweet:
— Mira Wroblewski (@MiraWroblewski) August 21, 2014
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