A former Missouri state senator claims protesters have “relentlessly dehumanized” police since Michael Brown’s death last year—and he’s hawking a book on the subject to raise money for Darren Wilson, the officer who killed the unarmed teen.
Jeff Roorda, now a St. Louis police union rep, said the book—entitled Ferghanistan: The War on Police—takes aim at the “Hands up, Don’t shoot” myth that spawned the Black Lives Matter movement and waves of unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as across the nation.
“We’ve lived through 12 months of vicious dehumanizing of police officers,” Roorda told The Daily Beast. “This books attempts to... show you an inside look at officers, what they go through, and what it’s been like for them.”
“I was going for this odd thing called the truth,” Roorda added. “What happened after Michael Brown was shot was an all-out war on police officers.”
The onetime elected official has been a rabid supporter of Ferguson police in light of nationwide protests over Brown’s death, a lack of indictment against Wilson, and a Justice Department probe that cleared Wilson of wrongdoing.
When cops were shot during Ferguson protests in March, Roora seethed that activists wanted “dead cops.”
“Dead cops, that’s what they want,” Roorda declared on Fox & Friends. “Let’s not pretend like they wanted [Police Chief] Tom Jackson’s resignation or they’re mad because Mayor [James] Knowles is still there. They want dead cops. That was their goal all along and that was their goal last night.”
Roorda was back on TV this week after peaceful protests for the first anniversary of Brown’s death turned violent. On Sunday, St. Louis police shot Tyrone Harris, 18, who had allegedly opened fire on cops. The unrest continued Monday, and as authorities issued a state of emergency, Roorda was on national television once again blasting activists.
He told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Sunday’s chaos “could have been avoided” by moving beyond “talks of police reform.”
“We’ve heard this same tired chorus… That everything is law enforcement’s fault, no matter what,” Roorda said, adding, “Until we start asking people to take responsibility for their own behaviors and figuring out what underlines the behaviors, we’re doomed to repeat this.”
Roorda echoed this sentiment to The Daily Beast. “You cannot deny that this is part of the post-Ferguson area,” Roorda said. “By and large it’s young black males [who] are involved in these confrontations. I don’t mean for that to sound racially charged, but we can’t move forward from this if we’re not candid about police relations, instead of clinging to this myth.”
In Rooda’s case, it’s not just his language about Ferguson that’s heated. In January, the former pol was accused of assaulting a woman at a contentious public hearing on a civilian oversight board for St. Louis police. Murky video surfaced of the incident, and the alleged victim, Cachet Currie, filed a complaint against the pro-police spokesman.
Prosecutors notified Currie’s attorney, Jerryl Christmas, last week that no charges would be filed against Roorda. The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office said prosecutors interviewed 30 witnesses and reviewed dozens of video clips but “concluded there is insufficient evidence” to prove Roorda’s guilt.
“Mr. Christmas has stated that he knows of additional witnesses to bring forward, yet, despite multiple requests, he has refused to provide any witness or other evidence,” Lauren Trager, the office’s public information officer, said in a statement.
Christmas told The Daily Beast he and Currie would discuss a civil lawsuit against Roorda. “This situation was on video,” he said. “They [prosecutors] hemmed and hawed for several months and then said they’re not going to press any charges. It’s a failure to confront anybody that’s in law enforcement.”
Roorda also was in the spotlight last year for organizing a GoFundMe account that raised half of the roughly $400,000 in donations for Wilson, who lives in hiding in a St. Louis suburb and called himself “unemployable” in a New Yorker profile this month.
On Tuesday, activists on Twitter criticized the website for Ferghanistan and took turns bashing Roorda. The torrent included one service member who wrote, “Jeff Roorda comparing Afghanistan to my hometown is beyond disgusting.”
Roorda’s website, TheWarOnPolice.com, allows people to pre-order Ferghanistan for $16.99 plus shipping. Roorda told The Daily Beast the book will be out in October but declined to say whether he had a publisher.
Roorda told The Daily Beast a “generous” portion of his future book’s proceeds would go to Wilson. “I don’t care if I make a penny off this book,” Roorda said. “The idea is to tell law enforcement’s story. If I can help Darren along the way, that’s an added bonus.”
According to the online summary, the book boasts “exclusive interviews” with Wilson and three other local officers shot during Ferguson riots.
Ferghanistan provides a “candid look at what really happened in Ferguson and how it affected those on the thin blue line that stood between law abiding citizens and the violent protesters that rained chaos on the St. Louis area and across the country,” the website states.
The former cop—who was fired for allegedly filing a false report to cover for another officer, court records show—said his book also challenges what he calls the root of the police relations problem: socioeconomics and “the plight of young black men in America.”
Still, St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who sparred with Roorda on CNN this week, said Roorda’s antics only make things worse for police. He called the cop cheerleader a “clown” who’s looking to profit off the book.
“I do not understand why the police union still has him as their representative,” French told The Daily Beast. “He’s very disruptive. At a time when police officers are having their lives threatened on streets because of all this anger, Jeff Roorda is making people more angry.”
“The problem is that when people see Jeff Roorda on TV and he says he represents St. Louis police, people understandably but mistakenly think he is speaking for all these police officers out there. And he’s not.”