Jeff Roorda started out his career as an undercover narc (narcotics police officer). Roorda was fired from the police force of Arnold, a St. Louis suburb, in 2001. His superiors accused him of filing a false statement against a suspect in 1997 and against his own police chief when the chief declined to give Roorda paid paternity leave, according to Missouri court records. He later became police chief of Kimmswick, another St. Louis suburb, and a business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Assn. He was City Administrator and Chief of Police for the small town of Kimmswick, Missouri. Currently, he sits on the Missouri House’s public safety committee as a legislator. Roorda was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2004 for District 102 and later for District 113. Roorda is currently running for the Missouri Senate as a Democrat in an election to take place on November 4, 2014 for District 22.
Jeff Roorda as the business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association, has opposed police dashboard cameras, police body cameras, and civilian oversight commissions.
St. Louis police officer Dustin Ries had previously had a long series of excessive force lawsuits that were quietly settled out of court. On New Year’s Day 2011 while working off-duty as a security guard, Officer Ries pulled William Ginger out of his car. Officer Ries beat William Ginger with a nightstick and peppersprayed him. A video of the beating was uploaded to Youtube. There were conflicting accounts as to whether William Ginger was trying to grab at Officer Ries’ ankles or not. William Ginger was charged with misdemeanor assault; Officer Ries was never charged. Jeff Roorda came to Officer Ries’ defense and criticized the police department’s internal affairs office for even investigating the incident. Jeff Roorda criticized the internal affairs investigation into the beating in a press release he wrote for the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association.
Video of Officer Dustin Ries beating William Ginger:
In 2012, St. Louis police officer Rory Bruce beat a teenager who was in handcuffs. The police department fired Officer Bruce and handed the case over to prosecutors to criminally charge Officer Bruce for beating the teenager. The judge refused to see the video of the beating and threw out the case against Officer Bruce. Jeff Roorda defended Officer Bruce’s actions and tried to help Officer Bruce get his job back with the police department. Jeff Roorda said that video evidence should only be used to exonerate police officers, and Roorda insinuated that video evidence should never be used to prosecute police officers.
Video of Officer Rory Bruce beating teenager in handcuffs and interview with Jeff Roorda:
Due to the killing of Michael Brown and protests in Ferguson, St. Louis City Aldermen started talking about implementing a civilian oversight board to investigate complaints against police officers. An August 22, 2014 article in the Washington Post quoted Jeff Roorda as saying,
“It is infuriating that a handful of militant, anti-police aldermen would capitalize on this tragedy to advance their own political agenda.”
In 2005, as a legislator in the Missouri House of Representatives, Jeff Roorda sponsored a bill that would have allowed the police to collect evidence, declare the evidence as “hazardous”, destroy “hazardous” evidence without court approval, and still admit the evidence in criminal trials. The bill would have basically given the police a free pass destroy evidence before outside experts could examine it.
Currently, Jeff Roorda is trying to exempt many types of police records from the Missouri Sunshine Act. The Missouri Sunshine Act allows anyone to file a request for the government to release records. Jeff Roorda is sponsoring bill HB1466. HB1466 would make many records, including complaints against police officers and records regarding police shootings, exempt from the Missouri Sunshine Act. HB1446 would prohibit police departments from releasing the name of police officers involved in shootings unless the officer has been criminally charged.
A facebook event on August 25, 2012 shows that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon attended Jeff Roorda’s campaign office grand opening. A March 7, 2014 article in the Missouri Times quotes Jeff Roorda stating,
“I’ve had the support of Ryan [McKenna] and I’ve enjoyed support from Governor Nixon every time I’ve run. That support has been very important to my success, and I anticipate I’ll continue to enjoy their support moving forward.”
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Time published a story about the removal of donation pages for Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown. The “Support Officer Wilson” page on GoFundMe that has raised $197,620 is still active and listed the nonprofit ‘Shield of Hope’ as the fundraiser. The donations page was listed as verified to be going to a certified charity. According to state nonprofit records, Jeff Roorda is listed as one of the three board of directors for the Shield of Hope nonprofit. The address listed on Shield of Hope’s state nonprofit registration is 9620 Lackland Road, St. Louis, Missouri. This is the same address as the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association where Jeff Roorda is the business manager and the Fraternal Order of the Police’s Lodge 15.
The killing of Michael Brown has caused massive protests in Ferguson, Missouri. Local residents are tired of the constant police harassment and brutality. On August 16, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency, called out the National Guard, and imposed a curfew from midnight to 5am. While Governor Nixon tried to quell the revolt in Ferguson, the public did not know that the whole time Governor Nixon’s close confidante and political ally, Jeff Roorda, was raising money for Michael Brown’s killer.
Picture from 2012 Governor Nixon and Jeff Roorda during signing of law expanding Missouri’s controlled substances list.