Ethical Society of Police no confidence in St. Louis County chief
The membership organization, which mainly represents black officers, says Barton is unable to lead
ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO. – The board of directors of the Ethical Society of Police has no confidence in St. Louis County Police Chief Mary Barton.
The membership organization, which mainly represents black officers, cited several reasons why the Board of Directors believes Barton is not fit for the job after her first year in the business.
- Her “No Systemic Racism” comment to the county council shortly after she was sworn in. Barton was asked if she believed there was systemic racism in her department.
- Her refusal to include ESOP on the communications committee, which she later reversed under public pressure
- Her brother-in-law’s racist statement. A dispatcher, identified by the organization as Mark Peeler – Barton’s brother-in-law – was overheard using the word “n” on an open police microphone after answering a call from a family in need of police service in a largely black community. Barton has since fired him.
- A three percent flag on an officer. The three percent is one of the groups the FBI has identified as one of the insurgents who attacked the nation’s Capitol on January 6th.
- Numerous unresolved complaints about racism at the police academy and in attitudes. Taylor said she couldn’t go into details on these examples because they were “ongoing issues.”
- The transfer of Officer Shanette Hall from the recruiting department and back onto the streets after speaking to the media about the racism black women face.
- The St. Louis County Police Association issued a statement Friday saying the police union shared “many of the key concerns raised by ESOP.”
In fact, the St. Louis County Police Association is currently conducting a survey of our 915 members to compile a full list of the issues leading to reports of low morale in the grassroots. While this is not a vote of no confidence, it will be an opportunity to present data directly from the base to the police department command. Once delivered, this data could be used by department management to make changes if necessary. “
Barton’s spokesman, Sgt. Benjamin Granda said she was unavailable for an interview on Friday but wrote, “For context, there were 388 assignments in 2020 to meet the needs of the department.”
Heather Taylor is the spokeswoman for the Ethical Society of Police, which Taylor says has about 62 members in the county.
She said the 16-member board of directors voted unanimously on the lack of confidence in Barton. She said the county board members that Hall and Lt. Ray Rice owned did not vote because the organization feared they would face retaliation for doing so.
“She was there long enough to see the problems. She did not see the problems and did not take appropriate action,” she said. “They have these marginalized officers and they are in these rooms where they are white and gay, black and gay, African American or some other form of marginalized community and feel left out.”
Taylor said the Ethical Society set out its concerns in a letter to Barton and it took them more than 60 days to respond.