The news: While a lot of reporting has focused on Officer Darren Wilson, the Missouri cop who fatally shot teenager Michael Brown and sparked a wave of protests in the city of Ferguson, another local police officer has made waves for his questionable behavior and borderline-insane rants. And just as the St. Louis police department was about to suspend the man, he's decided to retire and will receive his full pension and benefits. So who is he?
Officer Dan Page. A 35-year veteran of the force, Page first gained notoriety for pushing CNN anchor Don Lemon on-air.
Then the left-wing watchdog group Crooks and Liars brought attention to a video of Page from April, when he spoke before a conservative group called the Oath Keepers. Page's speech contained several offensive remarks concerning Muslims and the LGBT community, as well as a cavalier attitude toward police brutality and excessive force.
"I've killed a lot. And if I need to, I'll kill a whole bunch more," Page says in the video below. "If you don't want to get killed, don't show up in front of me. I have no problems with it. God did not raise me to be a coward [...] I'm into diversity — I kill everybody. I don't care."
Considering the situation unfolding in Ferguson, Page's comments were tone-deaf at best — leading to a suspension on Aug. 22 by the St. Louis County Police Department. But although the police promised to examine Page and conduct a full inquiry, MSNBC recently reported that Page's last day on the force was Aug. 25, and that he was expected to receive full pension.
Why this is important: While Page is just one of the officers who gained infamy from the events unfolding in Ferguson, he did become the face of what many people considered to be a serious problem in the city: the police officers' heavy militarization and escalation of tension. The fact that he then went on to push an accredited journalist and spewed bigotry without being disciplined hardly seems fitting.
We are unfortunately at a time and place where the public has little faith in the accountability of police actions — and moves like this to retire misbehaving officers and minimize damage are not going to help restore that faith.