Subscribe for 99¢

ST. LOUIS • A city police captain accused of improperly intervening in an investigation and instructing officers to alter reports about the incident no longer works for the department, but no one is saying whether he resigned or was fired.

Ryan Cousins’ last date with the department was May 24. He had been on the force since February 1996 and was commander of the 6th District.

Police department spokeswoman Schron Jackson said she could not comment on whether Cousins resigned or was terminated because it is a personnel matter.

Cousins’ attorney, Lynette Petruska, said it would not be in her client’s best interest to reveal the terms under which he left.

And the city’s personnel director, Richard Frank, said the city’s privacy ordinance forbids him from discussing the issue.

Cousins had been accused of intervening in an investigation at a St. Louis home on Jan. 29. A resident told police that two men tried to break into the home and he shot at them. No one was hit. The man was a felon, which makes possession of a firearm illegal.

The man was handcuffed, but Cousins ordered officers to free the man, sources said. He allegedly had them return the gun to the man’s wife and ordered them to omit from their reports any reference to shots being fired.

Chief Sam Dotson ordered him put on forced leave. Cousins was appealing that decision to the city’s Civil Service Commission.

Cousins did not appear at a Civil Service Commission hearing last month, but Alderman Dionne Flowers attended, telling hearing officer Donald McCullin that she had gathered more than 500 form letters of support from residents upset that Cousins had been removed from command of the 6th District.

She has said that Cousins was policing her ward in a responsible way.

The Ethical Society of Police, which represents black officers, also has defended Cousins.

Get high-interest news alerts delivered promptly to your inbox.