ST. LOUIS • Michael Waller, charged with using a credit card stolen from a city police detective’s daughter, claims in a voice message from jail that police beat him and that internal affairs officers were investigating.
The claim comes as several police and court sources have confirmed that it was contact by Detective Thomas A. Carroll with Waller that led to Carroll’s suspension last week. Sources say the departure of two prosecutors from Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office two days earlier is also related.
Officials in both agencies are keeping quiet about what prompted the moves, citing ongoing criminal and internal investigations into “serious allegations.”
The Post-Dispatch obtained the message left by Michael Waller, 41, on his brother’s answering machine.
In it, Waller says, “Internal affairs is on my case because the cops beat me so bad.” He added, “So hopefully all of this will go away.”
“Um, they’re supposed to come back up and talk to me again today,” he continued. “They came up Friday and took pictures of all my injuries and stuff.”
The brother, David Pirtle, said he isn’t certain of the date or time of the recording, which he thinks was made at least a week ago.
Pirtle said he was frustrated that more had not been publicly released. He said he was worried because he didn’t know how to reach his brother, who is held in lieu of $10,000 cash-only bail.
“He sounded like he had gotten beat down bad. I could hear it in his voice,” Pirtle said Tuesday.
According to court records, Waller was caught July 22 trying to buy a bus pass downtown using Carroll’s daughter’s credit card, which had been taken in a vehicle break-in.
Waller was charged the next day with receiving stolen property and fraudulent use of a credit card. Prosecutors also charged him with escape from confinement, for allegedly resisting during the arrest and trying to flee.
Four days later, the charge relative to resisting was dismissed by Joyce’s office. The same day, the two assistant circuit attorneys, Bliss Worrell and Katherine Dierdorf, ended their employment with the office. The circuit attorney’s office has refused to say whether those departures were forced.
Carroll, with 25 years on the force, was suspended without pay two days after that.
On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for the circuit attorney refused to comment on whether prosecutors dismissed the escape charge in light of Waller’s claims.
Multiple efforts to reach Worrell and Dierdorf have been unsuccessful.
Waller has a lengthy criminal history, which includes multiple charges of domestic assault and burglary. According to court records, he suffers from bipolar disorder and has been homeless. Pirtle said his brother was a good person who had trouble keeping his life together.
The public defender’s office, which is representing Waller, has declined comment.
Carroll was not Waller’s arresting officer, according to police records. Officials have refused to specify exactly who is being investigated or for what. Carroll’s attorney, Neil Bruntrager, declined comment on Tuesday.
In response to Post-Dispatch questions last week, the police department has indicated only that it received information on July 25 from the circuit attorney’s office, which prompted an investigation into “allegations of officer misconduct.”
Worrell, who had been with the prosecutor’s office since August 2013, is the daughter-in-law of former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Todd Worrell. Dierdorf, who had been with the office since February, is the daughter of former St. Louis Cardinals football player and broadcaster Dan Dierdorf.