St. Louis Police Claim Rams Apologized for 'Hands Up' Gesture, Rams Deny

| by Michael Allen

Five St. Louis Rams players made the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture before Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders.

The gesture has been used by protesters who are upset over the Ferguson police shooting of Michael Brown, but the St. Louis County Police Department claimed the Rams players somehow insulted their police officers on Sunday (video below).

“Now that the evidence is in and Officer Wilson's account has been verified by physical and ballistic evidence as well as eye-witness testimony, which led the grand jury to conclude that no probable cause existed that Wilson engaged in any wrongdoing, it is unthinkable that hometown athletes would so publicly perpetuate a narrative that has been disproven over and over again,” stated St. Louis Police Officer Association Business Manager Jeff Roorda, noted Fox Sports.

However, PBS Newshour reported that more than 50 percent (16 of 29) of the witness statements (narrative) said that Brown held his hands up to surrender when Wilson shot him.

According to SBNation.com, the St. Louis County Police Department claimed it supported the First Amendment, but added, "The SLPOA is calling for the players involved to be disciplined and for the Rams and the NFL to deliver a very public apology."

The Associated Press reported that several FAA employees said the St. Louis County Police Department censored the media's First Amendment rights by getting the FAA to impose a no-fly zone over Ferguson earlier this year.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told his staff in an email on Monday that Kevin Demoff, St. Louis Rams vice president of football operations, had called him to apologize for the Rams players: "I received a very nice call this morning from Mr. Kevin Demoff of the St. Louis Rams who wanted to take the opportunity to apologize to our department on behalf of the Rams for the 'Hands Up' gesture that some players took the field with yesterday."

However, Demoff said last night that he did not issue an apology.

"This morning, I had phone conversations with both Chief Dotson and Chief Belmar regarding yesterday's events," Demoff told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I expressed to both of them that I felt badly that our players' support of the community was taken as disrespectful to law enforcement."

"In none of these conversations did I apologize for our players' actions," added Demoff. "I did say in each conversation that I regretted any offense their officers may have taken. We do believe it is possible to both support our players' First Amendment rights and support the efforts of local law enforcement as our community begins the process of healing."

The St. Louis County Police Department then turned to the dictionary to insist that Demoff had apologized via Twitter:

Apology: "expression of regret for not being able to do something" @kdemoff: "I regretted any offense their officers may have taken."

Sources: Fox Sports, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, PBS Newshour, SBNation.com, Twitter, Associated Press