A St. Louis police office is facing an Internal Affairs investigation for intimidation after he admitted on video that he had contacted an activist’s employer because some of her tweets about police brutality were considered “incitement.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Thursday that the Internal Affair probe had been launched after Leigh Maibes, who participated in the Ferguson protests, had posted a YouTube video of a telephone conversation with Officer Keith Novara.
“You know, to me this feels like intimidation because you are an officer that patrols my area, and an officer I’ve also had contact with about trying to resolve some issues on my street,” Maibes tells Novara. “So, were you doing that for my benefit?”
“No, I wasn’t doing it for your benefit,” Novara says. “I was just doing it to let them know that if their phones were going to be ringing off the hooks that that was why.”
Maibes points out that her employer is located outside of Novara’s district, but he argues that “some of the tweets that I was seeing was inciteful.”
“I don’t say anything against police,” Maibes explains. “I have a problem with police brutality. Is that being against police?”
“That’s your opinion, and you can have that opinion,” Novara says.
When the conversation turns to discrimination against African-Americans, Novara informs Maibes that he no longer wishes to “engage” in the discussion.
In a statement obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the St. Louis Police Officers Association accused Maibes of being an apologist “for the so-called ‘peaceful protestors’ in Ferguson,” who “defend throwing bricks, bottles and rocks at police officers as ‘freedom of speech or freedom of expression.'”
“[T]hose very same people feign righteous indignation when a police officer who is fed up with the corrosive, anti-police rhetoric that this particular agitator has made in a public forum on social media, exercises his freedom of speech and freedom of expression in a truly peaceful manner,” the statement said. “Police officers are not second-class citizens. They enjoy First Amendment rights and every other right that is enjoyed by every other citizens and we will aggressively defend those rights to our last breath.”
Watch the video below from Leigh Maibes, recorded Oct. 15, 2014.