Craigslist group paying people to provoke St. Louis police


by Lauren Trager / News 4

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 10:58 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 18 at 11:41 AM

(KMOV) --Provoking police just to earn cold hard cash: that’s the idea behind a group advertising in St. Louis.  But that cash could come out of the tax payer pocket.

“Instantly pretty aggravated, I was pretty mad right away,” said Jonathon Miller.

Miller was simply searching for a job on Craigslist when he came across the advertisement for a group called “Cop Watch.”

In poorly written text, it asks for a crew to shoot video of undercover investigators pushing police to violate civil rights.

The ad promises pay of $50-60,000 all from the revenue of lawsuits.

“From the ad, do you get the sense they want to bait cops into doing something wrong? To me that’s what it seemed like, intentionally causing conflict.”

News 4 did some digging and found that “Cop Watch” is a national organization claiming to root out misconduct by catching bad cops on camera...

News 4’s Lauren Trager emailed the address on the ad, but no one got back to her.

“I think it’s illegal, a scam and I think its shameful behavior,” said Jeff Roorda with the St. Louis Police Officer’s Association. He taking the video isn’t the problem—it’s provoking police. He says it could be considered entrapment or extortion.

More- he says it could be putting people in harm’s way and will only hurt taxpayers who foot the bill for frivolous lawsuits.

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“There’s no printing press in the basement of city hall or the police department,” Roorda said.

Miller said those on the thin blue line deserve better.

“They work their butts off. They are in danger everyday in St. Louis,” Miller said.

He said the “Cop Watch” organization can just take their ads elsewhere.