CLAYTON • A 17-year St. Louis County police veteran has been demoted to the rank of police officer from sergeant after sources say he told officers to lie about a witness at the scene of a police shooting.
The witness was the father of a county officer who was riding in his son’s patrol car Oct. 24, in accordance with the department’s civilian ride-along program. The officer, while on patrol with his father in Jennings, spotted a stolen Mercedes near Jennings Station and Halls Ferry roads and pursued it into St. Louis.
Police said several robbers wearing gloves and masks had taken the gold 2003 Mercedes Benz at gunpoint in the 5100 block of Waldo Avenue in the Affton area. The car’s owner was not hurt.
The car crashed near East Lee and Red Bud avenues. Four people fled from the car, including Aaron Ballard, 19, who police said was wearing a mask and rubber gloves and carrying a gun that he pointed at the officer.
The officer, 28, fatally shot Ballard and was the only officer at the shooting, police said. The department has not identified the officer.
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Sgt. Michael Moore was among those to respond to the scene after the shooting. Sources say he told officers to say the father did not see the shooting.
The officers reported Moore’s order to superiors, and the matter resulted in his demotion Dec. 15, sources said.
The department allows civilians older than 17 to ride with officers as long as they have been approved by the commander.
Moore was promoted to sergeant in April 2016, and has been with the department since July 1999.
County police spokesman Officer Benjamin Granda said in an email: “Neither the chief, nor us, will have a comment. The matter is an internal process.” Granda then released the department’s statement from Nov. 2 which confirmed that “department personnel” reported an “alleged offense” Oct. 27 and an internal affairs investigation was “immediately initiated.”
“The alleged offense did not impact the pursuit/shooting investigation as it did not lead to any action or inaction by any of the officers on scene. This alleged offense was peripheral to the investigation, and did not affect the pursuit/shooting investigation that is currently being conducted by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department,” according to the statement.