Police officer suspended for pointing rifle at protesters, threatening them

A police officer who pointed an assault rifle at people in Ferguson on Tuesday night and threatened to kill them has been relieved of duty and suspended indefinitely, authorities said.

The officer, who was not identified, has been removed from the field after he pointed his semiautomatic weapon at a peaceful protester, according to Brian Schellman, a spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department. [UPDATE: He has been identified as Lt. Ray Albers.]

A video documenting the encounter (warning: graphic language) that made the rounds Wednesday showed the officer — who was pointing his rifle in the direction of the camera — telling protesters, “I will [expletive] kill you.” When asked for his name, the officer responded with, “Go [expletive] yourself.” (It is unclear if this was the same officer that our Wesley Lowery encountered, but it appears other members of the media did run into him.)

A county police sergeant forced the officer, who works for the Saint Ann police, to lower his weapon and leave the area, Schellman said. (Another video posted online appears to show another officer moving him away from the area.)

“The unified command strongly feel these actions are inappropriate, and not indicative of the officers who have worked daily to keep the peace,” Schellman said in an e-mail.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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Mark Berman · August 20