A St. Louis-area police officer who was forced to resign after threatening Ferguson protesters with a raised gun claims his life has been “ruined.”
According to The Huffington Post, Lt. Ray Albers, was forced stepped down from the St. Ann Police Department after video showed him screaming profanities and pointing his rifle at unarmed protesters during last year’s protests over the death of Michael Brown.
“I will f*cking kill you!” said Albers. He also told a protester to “Go f*ck yourself.”
However, almost a year after the incident, Albers is fighting the state’s Administrative Hearing Commission which is considering whether to permanently revoke his license to work as a police officer, said The Huffington Post. The state of Missouri says Albers “acted without justification” and threatened to commit murder.
Brandi Barth, Albers’ attorney, said he was being treated unfairly and made a scapegoat. Surprisingly, Albers is one of few police officers to face disciplinary action for unprofessional conduct during the Ferguson protests. Barth argued several other officers were pictured pointing their weapons at protesters. Protesters and journalists also complained about being threatened and harassed by police officers.
“There’s selective enforcement against Mr. Albers, in a situation where we have now seen at least a dozen officers in the selected photos having their rifles raised,” Barth said. “This situation of 30 seconds in a 20-year career has literally ruined his life.”
Albers said he feared for his life when he was approached by several Black men who were wearing bandanas.
“I thought at that time that the only reason they would be coming towards me is to hurt me and take my weapon,” Albers said in a radio interview. “You don’t come towards an officer that has a rifle raised. Nobody in their right mind would do that unless they had bad intentions.”
He also denied pointing his rifle at anyone in particular, even though video showed him threatening several protesters. The situation could have gotten a lot worse if St. Louis County police officer John Walls hadn’t intervened and physically forced Albers to lower his weapon. Lt. Garrett Willis, former lead firearms instructor in St. Ann, said Albers violated police procedure by pointing his weapon at protesters.
“You scan with your eyes,” Willis said. “You should never raise your weapon unless it’s a threat.”
Although Albers is complaining that he has been treated harshly, he still got to retire with his pension and isn’t facing any criminal charges. He’s just fighting for the ability to be a police officer again. However, some protesters have been hit with severe punishments.
Joshua Williams was recently sentenced to eight years in jail for trying to set fire to a QuikTrip in Berkeley, Mo. after an officer-related shooting. Gregory Butler, who was arrested during protests over the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, is facing at least 20 years in jail for poking holes in a fire hose. Federal prosecutors charged Butler with aiding and abetting arson. Ironically, Butler is facing stiffer charges than Officer William Porter, one of six Baltimore cops indicted over Gray’s death. Porter’s trial recently ended in a mistrial.