US: Cop brands Ferguson protesters 'rabid dogs'

  • AFP, Ferguson
  • Updated: Aug 23, 2014 10:24 IST

A police officer in Missouri was suspended Friday after he voiced his contempt via Facebook of protesters condemning the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer.

Some 50 demonstrators returned to the streets of the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson at sunset Friday to demand justice for the August 9 death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, whose funeral is set for Monday.

Police kept a low profile, in sharp contrast to previous nights when police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters near the quiet residential street where Brown was fatally shot at least six times in broad daylight.

The police department in Glendale, another St Louis suburb, said Friday it had suspended one of its officers who expressed contempt for the Ferguson protesters on his Facebook account.

Matthew Pappert was the latest police officer from the St Louis area in three days to be suspended for questionable conduct amid the Ferguson protests.

"I'm sick of these protesters. You are a burden on society and a blight on the community," wrote Pappert in one of at least five posts that went up since Sunday.

"These protesters should have been put down like a rabid dog the first night," he added.

In a reference to the Boston Marathon bombing, he also wrote: "Where is a Muslim with a backpack when you need them."

The Glendale Police Department, in a statement, said it suspended Pappert upon learning about the posts on Friday. It also cancelled a neighborhood block party for fear it might be disrupted by protesters.

"The matter is being taken very seriously and a thorough internal investigation will be conducted to determine why the posts were made," it said.

It stressed that Pappert's posts were "absolutely" not shared by the Glendale police or city government. The suburb of 6,000 is 97 percent white.

Press photographers recognized Pappert as one of hundreds of St Louis area police officers called into Ferguson as crowd-control reinforcements.

One photographer clearly recalled him threatening journalists with a night stick, saying: "He was ready to swing at us."

On Wednesday, a police lieutenant from another St Louis suburb, St Ann, was suspended after he pointed a semi-automatic assault rifle at Ferguson protesters and, in vulgar language, threatened to kill them.

Within hours, two videos of the officer's conduct went viral on YouTube, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union to demand he be removed from duty.

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