A shouting and shoving match erupted at St. Louis City Hall Wednesday during the first public hearing on a police oversight board.
Proposed after the Aug. 9 shooting of black teenager Michael Brown by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, the civilian panel would hear complaints about police actions, be able to review evidence from internal affairs investigations and evaluate police policies.
For nearly an hour people peacefully took to the podium at the public safety committee meeting to tell aldermen why they were for or against the civilian review board. Then audience members yelled, interrupting a police officer addressing officials.
Jeff Roorda of the St. Louis Police Officers Association responded to the hecklers by shouting out, urging the chairman to get the meeting under control. Then a scuffle broke out, with police swarming in to pull Roorda away from other audience members and restore order, USA Today reports.
The police association maintains the current bill is unfair and disregards an officer's right to due process, but citizens rocked by weeks of violent protests after the Brown killing say police need to be held to a new level of accountability.