ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A supervising sergeant for the St. Louis County Police Department is under internal investigation.
The investigation follows a complaint that he told an officer to lie at the scene of officer-involved shooting last month.
That shooting started with a pursuit of a stolen car in Jennings and ended with a suspect shot dead in north St. Louis. The St Louis County police sergeant is now off the streets as police try to get to the bottom of it all.
Police sources confirm to News 4 the allegation that the sergeant told at least one other officer to lie about a possible witness at the scene of that shooting. “If a supervisor is directing others to lie or conceal evidence, that's about as bad as it gets,” said former state and federal prosecutor Hal Goldsmith.
On October 24, a county police officer in the Jennings area started pursuing what was believed to be a stolen car. Police sources say that officer had someone riding along with him: his father.
Police say one of the suspects in the stolen car, 19-year-old Aaron Ballard, pointed a gun at the pursuing officer. The officer shot and killed Ballard.
Now, though, News 4 has learned from police sources that the supervising sergeant who responded told at least one officer to lie and say the pursuing officer's father was in another car and say that the father did *not* witness the pursuit or shooting.
“I would like to say that the overwhelming majority of police officers don't lie, but in those rare instances it can cause serious problems for that department and the case they were working on” said Goldsmith.
The alleged offense was reported to St. Louis County Police on October 27, three days after the shooting. "The officers that did report this should be commended for doing their job and doing it right," said Goldsmith.
St. Louis County Police sent News 4 a statement confirming the internal investigation into a supervising sergeant.
In that statement the department says in part "the alleged offense did not impact the pursuit/shooting investigation as it did not lead to any action or inaction by any of the officers on the scene."
News 4 is choosing not to name the sergeant at this time, because there's no official confirmation of his identify from police. We do know he was placed on an administrative assignment.
Full Statement from St. Louis County Police spokesperson Sgt. Shawn McGuire:I can confirm that an internal investigation is pending on an on-scene supervisor, a Sergeant, in relation to the officer-involved pursuit and shooting that occurred at approximately 10:30 PM on October 24, 2016.
An alleged offense was reported by personnel within our Department on October 27, 2016, and an internal affairs investigation was immediately initiated. The alleged offense did not impact the pursuit/shooting investigation as it did not lead to any action or inaction by any of the officers on scene. This alleged offense was peripheral to the investigation, and did not affect the pursuit/shooting investigation that is currently being conducted by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
The Sergeant has been moved to an administrative assignment while the internal investigation continues.Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.