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Fallout from questionable police actions in Ferguson continues

By Ray Sanchez and John Newsome, CNN
updated 8:40 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two St. Louis-area cops resign or retire following questionable actions related to Ferguson protests
  • Three officers have either been fired, resigned or retired because of their conduct, officials say
  • One officer threatened and pointed rifle at protesters; another retired after video rant about Supreme Court, Muslims
  • Third officer was fired for making inappropriate Facebook posts

(CNN) -- One St. Louis-area police officer resigned and another retired in the continued fallout from questionable police actions in the days after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.

The moves bring to three the number of police officers whose conduct was called into question after the August 9 fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an African-American teen shot multiple times by a white police officer.

The three officers are: Lt. Ray Albers, who threatened and pointed an assault rifle at protesters; Dan Page, an officer caught on camera pushing a CNN correspondent before a video surfaced of him ranting about the Supreme Court and Muslims; and Matthew Pappert, an officer fired after making what his chief called "very ... inappropriate" Facebook comments about the protests in Ferguson.

Albers, a 20-year veteran of the St. Ann, Missouri, police department, resigned Thursday, according to City Administrator Matt Conley.

Albers stepped down after the city's board of police commissioners recommended to the board of aldermen that he be fired or resign, St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez told CNN on Saturday.

"He's one of my best friends but we have to do what's best for the city," Jimenez said. "It doesn't mean he's a bad guy, but he made a mistake after 20 years of solving crimes."

Protesters march in Ferguson, Missouri, on Thursday, August 21. The St. Louis suburb has been in turmoil since a white police officer, Darren Wilson, fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on August 9. Some protesters and law enforcement officers have clashed in the streets, leading to injuries and arrests. Protesters march in Ferguson, Missouri, on Thursday, August 21. The St. Louis suburb has been in turmoil since a white police officer, Darren Wilson, fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on August 9. Some protesters and law enforcement officers have clashed in the streets, leading to injuries and arrests.
Emotions run high in Ferguson, Missouri
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Photos: Emotions run high in Ferguson Photos: Emotions run high in Ferguson

Albers was the officer who pointed a semiautomatic rifle at a Ferguson protester and threatened to kill him on August 19 -- a tense moment caught on video and posted online.

A day after the incident, police officials announced that the officer had been "relieved of duty and suspended indefinitely."

In the video, Albers can be seen walking around with his assault rifle raised, then pointing it in the direction of protesters.

"I'm going to f---ing kill you," he says. "Get back. Get back."

Police said the protester involved in what it deemed "a verbal exchange" was "peaceful."

Another man in the crowd said out loud, "Did you threaten to kill him?"

When the officer was asked for his name, he responded: "Go f--- yourself."

Protesters mocked the officer before he was led away by another member of law enforcement.

A CNN crew also saw the officer point his weapon at those around him as he cursed, shouted and threatened people by saying he'd kill them unless they stayed away.

Jimenez said of Albers: "He's not doing well, but he's trying to stay positive. He knows over his 20 years, he's done a lot of good work. You do one thing and it can ruin your career. He recognized what he did was wrong. That's his first step in moving on. He feels remorse. He said he was scared and wasn't thinking."

Page, an officer with the St. Louis County Police Department, retired effective August 25, according to St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman.

Page was caught on camera pushing CNN's Don Lemon. He was placed on administrative leave after a video surfaced of him ranting about the Supreme Court and Muslims, among other things.

He also refers on the video to Barack Obama as "that illegal alien who claims to be our President."

This week, officials in the city of Glendale, Missouri, confirmed that Pappert was fired after making what his chief called "very ... inappropriate" Facebook comments, according to a city official.

"These protesters should be put down like a rabid dog the first night," Pappert wrote in one post, according to CNN affiliate KMOV. There were reportedly five inappropriate posts, KMOV said.

Pappert, a six-year veteran of the Glendale force, was originally suspended on August 22 after the comments came to light. An inquiry was initiated that day.

"Officer Pappert was dismissed following the conclusion of the investigation," City Administrator Jaysen Christensen said. "Our focus at this point is to move past this, and turn the focus back to healing in ... Ferguson."

Glendale, like Ferguson, is a municipality in St. Louis County. The two suburbs are about 15 miles apart.

A week ago, Glendale Police Chief Jeffrey Beaton suspended Pappert and cited what he called the "inappropriate posts on his personal Facebook page," according to the Webster-Kirkwood Times, an online news outlet in the area.

Police in the area have come under fire for their heavy-handed response to the Ferguson protests following Brown's death.

An attorney for Pappert said his client was sorry for his online comments.

"Officer Pappert is deeply remorseful about what he posted on social media," lawyer William Goldstein said. "We ask for (the) same spirit of forgiveness and the opportunity for redemption."

Complete coverage of Ferguson shooting and protests

CNN's Greg Botelho, Joe Sutton, AnneClaire Stapleton and Joshua Berlinger contributed to this report.

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