While the St. Louis County Police Department investigates Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed eighteen-year-old Michael Brown in August, members of the department's hockey team are dropping their gloves for the cop at the center of the controversial killing.
The county police hockey team, whose website says it is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, plays around St. Louis and sometimes other states to have fun and raise money for charity. But lately, whoever runs the team's Facebook page has turned it into something of a fan site for Wilson, who was also known to play a little puck back in his high school days.
Here's a post supporting their "Ferguson Brother":
And here's the whole team, in a photo taken last year, under a mantra repeated by Wilson supporters:
These posts were made within a few days after the Facebook page shared an August 10 announcement from the actual STLCPD that says the department will treat the Wilson investigation like any other, and it will not "take sides."
According to the STLCPD hockey team's website, there are seventeen active-duty police officers lacing up their skates, including Vince Mullen from the Ferguson Police Department, as well as two members from the county's special ops team that made up the oft-criticized militarized presence during the protests: Steve Schue and Nick Leavy.
The team even has some NHL DNA on its squad with hall of famer Al MacInnis' son Carson playing defense, just like his dad did for the Blues. Carson MacInnis joined the county police as a patrol officer last year.
While critics of law enforcement might find it troubling, expressing support for Wilson as part of a police group isn't against any rules.
"The [posts do] not violate policies set forth by the STLCPD," Brian Schellman, spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department, tells Daily RFT in an email.
So, no worries for these puck coppers. Just like in hockey, police officers have to support their teammates in good times and bad.
And given how much pressure the STLCPD has been under for firing tear gas, rubber bullets, wood pellets and flash grenades at people protesting police brutality, who could blame them for needing to express themselves?
That's why the other social-media sites the STLCPD hockey team links to is interesting: They provide a glimpse into how police officers and their families are feeling in these trying times.
Click on the next page for more musings from St. Louis police officers on social media...
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