St. Louis cop investigated after bragging about spending ‘annual Michael Brown bonus’
Patrolman investigated over Facebook post in which he shows off about extra cash made working during protests in Ferguson this week
St Louis County police are investigating a Facebook comment in which one of their officers appears to brag about the extra income he earned while working during protests in Ferguson which marked the one-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown.
Officer Todd J Bakula, known as “TJ”, appears to be showing off about extra money earned while part of a massive police response throughout this week with the anniversary demonstrations of Brown’s death, which saw St. Louis County cops working long hours.
“I decided to spend my annual Michael Brown bonus on a nice relaxing bicycle ride trip to Defiance,” a Missouri recreation destination about 40 miles from Ferguson, Bakula wrote on his personal Facebook page under the name TJ Thekoola. “Eating dinner now and staying at a bed and breakfast tonight.”
After reviewing the Facebook post, Shawn McGuire, media relations officer at St Louis County police, confirmed to the Guardian by email that “Police officer Bakula is a patrolman with the St Louis County police department.”
“We understand the post is controversial,” McGuire said. “The St Louis County police department takes these allegations very serious in every case. The remarks on the Facebook page will be investigated by our department.”
Bakula did not answer questions sent by email, voicemail or text. The Guardian found contact information for Bakula on a business website which bears Bakula’s first two initials, his wife’s name and both of their images. A text message initially responded to the Guardian that it was the wrong number for Bakula, even though the outgoing voicemail message had the couple’s names.
The Guardian specifically asked how much overtime pay Bakula earned while working on St Louis protests. Overtime for demonstrations can be very lucrative for police officers in Missouri in general.
According to the St Louis Business Journal, just responding in the wake of Brown’s killing in August 2014 cost St Louis County a reported $4 million, including “$2.5m in overtime for police work.” By January, the South County Times reported that St Louis County police had “put in 121,935 hours of work since the shooting, which amounts of $3.9m in overtime costs and $1.2m in fringes.”