As a matter of routine, we put police officers in very
difficult, sometimes life-threatening, situations. We rely on them to protect
our rights and to keep our neighborhoods safe. The vast majority of St. Louis
police officers do their best to serve all of our citizens professionally and
fairly. They deserve our thanks, respect, and support. The ones – the few --
who fail in their duty do not.
In most cases, it isn’t that difficult to distinguish
legal and professional behavior from illegal or unprofessional behavior. When
there is any question about which is which, it is vital for our City that we
make every effort to find out.
I am committed to a fair and transparent investigation
into the death of Mansur Ball-Bey — with no preconceived notion of the outcome.
The City has put together a multi-layer investigative
process, under the general direction of St. Louis Public Safety Director Rich
One investigation will be a criminal investigation
conducted by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's Force Investigative
Unit, which is specially trained to deal with these types of situations.
Another investigation will be conducted by the Police
Department’s Internal Affairs division to determine whether the officers
involved complied with police department policies, a different set of standards
than criminal law.
The St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office will conduct an
investigation in parallel, independent of the Force Investigative Unit. I have
directed the Police Department to make all its resources available to the
Circuit Attorney in this process.
At my request, the United States Attorney will also
review all of the evidence.
All of the findings of the municipal criminal and
Internal Affairs investigations will be turned over for independent review by
the Civilian Oversight Board for their inspection, additional action, and
public report. I urge the Board of Aldermen to act quickly to review and
confirm the members of the COB so that they can begin their training and set
their policies and procedures.
Whatever the results of these investigations, any next
steps will be based on the facts, evidence, and the law — and nothing else.
I know that people will have opinions even before the
investigations are complete. Some will circulate petitions, write letters, make
comments, or tweet. Some will act in protest, as is their right. Some will do
none of those things, but will still pre-judge the situation. I will listen to
all of them. I will continue to dialogue with the Clergy Coalition, community
organizations, activists, and elected officials to keep them informed.
I will also instruct the Police Department and all public
safety agencies to continue to protect the safety of our neighborhoods, those
who live in and visit them, and the businesses on which our City depends – and
to do so with an awareness that their professionalism, particularly with regard
to the First Amendment, will be on national display.