Roorda Leads on Ferguson – The Wrong Way

15 Sep

This laughable column appeared in the Rock newspaper – a free local rag that exists to bring in campaign ad revenue and shill for politicians like state Rep. Jeff Roorda (D – 113th):

Rock newspaper column

It is true that Roorda has led on the subject of Ferguson; but I’d say he led in the wrong direction. Let’s look at some of his moves, before and after the shooting of Michael Brown:

– First, he has sponsored a bill in the Legislature that would have kept secret the names of officers involved in shootings. This would ensure that these names never are made public, unless the officer is charged with a crime, which is highly unlikely in most cases, since the officer’s department normally does the investigation.

– Second, Roorda has opposed the use of dash and body cameras by police officers. Either of these would have given us a much better picture of the events surrounding Brown’s death. Video that existed but was not allowed in court would have put this officer in jail for striking a handcuffed person in custody, but Roorda was glad the video was thrown out (nobody would testify about it). The Rock article mentions a cop, cleared of excessive force, who had a gun pointed at him. Neither the person I just mentioned, nor this person who was also beaten by a cop who was cleared (and supported by Roorda) had a gun. I don’t know what incident the Rock refers to (if such an incident exists). I also do not know if his accusations against Roorda’s opponent in the November Senate election, Paul Wieland, have any merit, but I have my doubts.

– Third, Roorda defended the Ferguson chief of police when everyone else in America can see he did a poor job handling the situation.

– In the interview with Anderson Cooper featured in the photo above, Roorda defended the military equipment and riot tactics the police used against protestors that many feel only inflamed the situation.

– He has also defended St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch, and bragged that this defense of the man helps him in his Senate race.

– Roorda has been tangentially involved in efforts to raise money for Officer Darren Wilson via an organization called Shield of Hope. Roorda claimed to know something about the anonymous, supposed teen girl who started one of the fundraising pages, but the page administrator denied ever talking to Roorda. The fundraising pages have been shut down because of tax questions.

– He opposes the creation of civilian review boards to oversee allegations of police misconduct.

There will be a fundraiser Tuesday for Roorda featuring Governor Jay Nixon, who has also been criticized for his actions in Ferguson. I’d love to see state senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal make an appearance there.

As for Wieland’s alleged silence, I don’t see where a JeffCo representative would really need to say a lot about something that happened in north St. Louis County.

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