ST. LOUIS — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson met with several parents and spouses of police officers killed in the line of duty Wednesday at the St. Louis Police Officers Association Headquarters.
Parson said family members of fallen officers told him they were concerned about workers compensation for injured police and mental health services and other resources for police. And, Parson said, family members are concerned about the way police are being treated after protests in recent months.
“There’ll be a bad instance, and we all know what those have been, and they shouldn’t have happened," Parson said. "I don’t think anyone in this room would justify that. But that’s not every police officer, and they should not all be blamed for what a few do. The vast majority of police officers, day in and day out, answer the call. They do the job most of us don’t want to do.”
Parson also referenced a proposed law enforcement "bill of rights," a state bill that would give sworn law enforcement officers certain rights if they are under investigation, including requiring that any officer suspended without pay, demoted, fired or transferred be entitled to a full due process hearing. The bill has not moved in the statehouse since March.
Parson also debuted a new campaign commercial starring Rachel Lightfoot, his current campaign manager and the wife of an officer who was killed in the line of duty in Polk County in 1997, when Parson was sheriff.
"There is nothing that would have ever prepared me for that, for that phone call, that knock at the door," Lightfoot said of when she found out her husband had been killed. "In that video I said, '11:32, that time sticks in my mind, and will never go away.' I remember that time exactly. But it's something that I'm so proud of too. I can't express how proud I am of not just Mike and what he has done and what he stands for but Teresa as well and what they are trying to do for the law enforcement community."
Several St. Louis police officers have been shot this year.
Early June 2, four officers were shot and injured as they responded to rioting and looting in downtown St. Louis. That same morning, retired police captain David Dorn was shot and killed as he attempted to protect a pawn shop.
In late July a man fired several times at police as a patrol car sat at a gas station on North 13th Street. One officer sustained a shrapnel wound. Then in early August a 14-year-old boy shot an off-duty police officer who was working security detail downtown. The officer was shot in the arm and recovered.
Officer Tamarris Bohannon died after being shot in the head by a man barricaded inside a Tower Grove South home on Aug. 29 of this year. He had been with the department for almost four years. The man charged with his murder, Thomas J. Kinworthy Jr., also shot a second officer in the leg in the same incident. That officer, Arlando Bailey, survived.
Bohannon's father, Al Bohannon, attended the gathering but declined to comment.
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