A 35-year veteran of the St. Louis Police Department who’d been assigned to duty in Ferguson suddenly retired this week over a YouTube video, it was reported Saturday as activists conducted another march through the strife-torn town pleading for God “to even the score.”
Officer Dan Page’s video, titled “The End of American Sovereignty & Constitutional Rights,” is harshly critical of President Obama, liberal judges, affirmative action, and notes that the Declaration of Independence gives the people the right to overthrow the government.
“I personally believe in Jesus Christ as my lord savior, but I’m also a killer. I’ve killed a lot. And if I need to, I’ll kill a whole bunch more,” said Officer Page, a former Green Beret, a drill sergeant and a Vietnam veteran, in a guest speech made to St. Louis and St. Charles County chapter of Oath Keepers.
Officer Page, who was suspended last week, likely will receive full retirement benefits, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The video had been brought to the public’s attention by CNN, by a reporter who said Officer Page shoved him during the racially-charged disturbances in Ferguson over the shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown by a white policeman.
Police spokesman Brian Schellman told the Post Dispatch that Officer Page’s last day on the job was Monday.
At least one other St. Louis area policemen has been punished for off-the-job comments related to the Ferguson unrest. Glendale Officer Matthew Pappert was fired Thursday over Facebook postings that called Ferguson protesters “a burden on society and a blight on the community,” said they should be “put down like rabid dogs,” and mused aloud, “Where is a Muslim with a backpack when you need them?”
The demonstrations in Ferguson, which have calmed noticeably in recent days, picked up again Saturday afternoon, exactly three weeks after Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson.
According to the Associated Press, several hundred marchers descended down Canfield Drive in the St. Louis suburb to the spot of the killing, where they vowed to build a national movement against police racism and brutality.
Led by Brown’s parents — Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr. — family members surrounded a makeshift memorial decorated with flowers, candles, placards and stuffed animals, AP reported.
“We know that his life is not going to be in vain,” the Rev. Spencer Booker of St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in St. Louis told the marchers, speaking into a megaphone. “We know you’re going to even the score, God. We know you’re going to make the wrong right.”
Unlike in the earliest days of post-shooting riots that prompted a national debate about police tactics and their use of military-style equipment, the police presence Saturday was small and low-key.
Saturday’s march attracted tailgaters and hawkers selling T-shirts memorializing Brown or the slogan, “Hands up, Don’t Shoot,” the AP reported.
Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson was present and demonstrators embraced him as they had when he was first put in charge of Ferguson security by Missouri’s governor, including posing for pictures.
“We’re just three weeks into this, and this is only the beginning of this movement,” said Jerryl Christmas, a St. Louis attorney who helped lead Saturday’s march and said he wants to keep the Brown shooting “in the forefront of America.”
Protesters later matched to the Ferguson Police Department headquarters and blocked the road outside the building. “If we can’t have it, we’re shutting it down,” speakers chanted, according to reporters at the scene.