Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the amount of grant money the Ethical Society of Police spent and to include that the names of some officers involved in specific incidents were included in the report.
ST. LOUIS • The association for black police officers plans to take a 112-page report outlining allegations of racism, cronyism and corruption within the department to the city’s Civilian Oversight Board, hoping it will make recommendations for change.
The president of the Ethical Society of Police, Sgt. Heather Taylor, began a news conference Tuesday about the group’s plan in tears and excused herself.
“What you’re seeing here is the toll that the stress of this situation takes on these officers,” said Redditt Hudson, a former city police officer turned anti-police violence activist who introduced her.
When Taylor returned, she criticized the way the department handles internal affairs investigations for black officers, said a “conflict of interest” exists between attorneys for the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association and Police Chief Sam Dotson and alleged she was the victim of retaliation for telling the public about a temporary shutdown of Shotspotter technology.
In response to the society’s announcement, Dotson issued a statement saying the Ethical Society has been invited to meet with Internal Affairs as well as the chief to discuss its concerns.
“Chief Dotson and his command staff are committed to a workplace free from harassment, discrimination or racial disparity and will continue their efforts to foster such an environment,” the statement said.
Taylor accused city leaders and Dotson of ignoring the society’s request to continue a minority officer recruitment program.
In November 2014, Mayor Francis Slay, Public Safety Director Richard Gray, former president of the Ethical Society Darren Wilson and NAACP leaders accepted a $50,000 grant to pay Ethical Society members to boost minority recruitment.
In a statement Tuesday, Gray said, “The money was allocated through a grant, which means if you don’t use it, you lose it. We are disappointed to report that the Ethical Society of Police never used the money.”
City spokeswoman Maggie Crane later said the organization did not use any money the first year of the grant, and used only $17,840 during the second year. Ethical Society leaders say the city wouldn't let them use the grant money to pay officers overtime for the recruitment program, and reallocated the money.
Taylor also accused Dotson of failing to notify the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Program when an officer resigns under an internal affairs investigation, but did not offer any examples, saying that she was told that naming names could lead to further discipline against her.
Taylor also distributed a copy of the city’s whistleblower ordinance, adopted in December, saying the society would use it to shield members from any blowback it might face for sending its report to the Civilian Oversight Board.
The ordinance outlining the responsibilities and power of the Civilian Oversight Board defines it as a body to review specific complaints of officer misconduct. The document the Ethical Society plans to give the board names some officers involved in specific incidents.