October 17, 2014 10:00 am -

A St.Louis police officer called an activist’s boss in an attempt to get her fired, so she filed a formal complaint “to return the favor.” According to the officer’s union he was within his rights.

The police department says it is investigating the matter.

[su_center_ad]Leigh Maibes, a real estate agent who tweets under the alias “Short Stack” has been active on social media during the Ferguson protests. She posted a link on Wednesday to a YouTube video of a phone conversation with Officer Keith Novara in which she questions why the officer called and texted her boss regarding her Tweets about police tactics used during protests, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“To me this feels like intimidation,” Maibes, a real estate for a RE/MAX brokerage, said.

Novara is heard on the video saying, “I let them know, yes.”

According to Novara, he was giving the broker a “heads up” and communicating with him as part of his responsibilities as a South Patrol officer.

Novara added that he was warning the activist’s’ boss that the phones at the business might be “blowing up,” from people upset about her tweets.

“Why did you think it was your place to do that?” Maibes asks.

“Some of the tweets that I was seeing were inciteful,” Novara said. “That’s why I just wanted to let him know.”

It was only a matter of hours of Novara posting the video that other Twitter users posted her cell number, photo and email address.

According to the Dispatch, Novara retained a lawyer through the St. Louis Police Officers Association. The police department confirmed that Novara was under investigation but he has not been suspended.

The police association’s business manager, Jeff Roorda, said  in a statement on Thursday that Novara’s speech was protected under the First Amendment and that he was only “setting the record straight on public statements made by people spreading irresponsible lies and calling for violence against the police.”

“It is confounding to us as an organization of law enforcement professionals that apologists for the so-called ‘peaceful protestors’ in Ferguson and the Shaw neighborhood defend throwing bricks, bottles and rocks at police officers as ‘freedom of speech or freedom of expression’”, the statement continued. “Then, those very same people feign righteous indignation when a police officer who is fed up with the corrosive, anti-police rhetoric that this particular agitator has made in a public forum on social media, exercises his freedom of speech and freedom of expression in a truly peaceful manner.”

As for Maibes’ right to speak out, Mittman suggested that it would be improper for Novara to interfere in his capacity as a police officer. In the video, Novara appears to indicate that he was.

“If a government actor is retaliating against someone who is engaged in First Amendment activity, that is not lawful,” Jeffrey Mittman, executive director for the ACLU of Missouri said.

According to Alan J. Howard, a professor emeritus at the St. Louis University School of Law, it doesn’t seem that Novara “was trying to participate in some public debate.”

“It seems like he said, ‘I was wearing my police officer’s hat when I made that phone call,’” Howard said. “That actually hurts his case.”



Image: Dvafoto

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

19 responses to St. Louis Cop Under Investigation After Calling Ferugson Protester’s Employer To Get Her Fired

  1. Carla Akins October 17th, 2014 at 10:49 am

    I think this covers it: Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law, 18 U.S.C. § 242. This provision makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

    For the purpose of Section 242, acts under “color of law” include acts not only done by federal, state, or local officials within the their lawful authority, but also acts done beyond the bounds of that official’s lawful authority, if the acts are done while the official is purporting to or pretending to act in the performance of his/her official duties. Persons acting under color of law within the meaning of this statute include police officers, prisons guards and other law enforcement officials, as well as judges, care providers in public health facilities, and others who are acting as public officials. It is not necessary that the crime be motivated by animus toward the race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin of the victim.

    The offense is punishable by a range of imprisonment up to a life term, or the death penalty, depending upon the circumstances of the crime, and the resulting injury, if any.

    • tiredoftea October 17th, 2014 at 12:45 pm

      Now, let’s watch how quickly it’s applied here!

  2. neworleans878 October 17th, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Seldom…if ever… trust a cop…period.

    Sorry, but there it is.

  3. Rusty Shackleford October 17th, 2014 at 11:05 am

    And yet Darren Wilson is still on paid vacation.

    But surely we must trust the investigation. After all, if you can’t trust the cops, you can surely trust the cops to investigate the cops and tell us if the cops did anything wrong.


    • crc3 October 17th, 2014 at 11:36 am

      …and Darren Wilson will never be prosecuted for what he did. He is truly the definition of the term “PIG”….

      • Rusty Shackleford October 17th, 2014 at 11:44 am

        They’re all pigs. If there’s any “good cops” in there, they’re not doing jack to speak out or stop the bad cops while they circle the wagons and inflict state-sponsored violence on protestors, so how “good” can they be?

  4. rg9rts October 17th, 2014 at 11:21 am

    He flunks thuggery 101

  5. crc3 October 17th, 2014 at 11:28 am

    This thug cop should be fired. I’m sick and tired of cops just doing as they please without any repercussions at all!!

  6. tiredoftea October 17th, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    “The police department says it is investigating the matter”, they’ll get to it really soon!

    • tracey marie October 17th, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      this will go nowhere because the powers that be are closing ranks and protecting killers, liars and thugs

      • tiredoftea October 17th, 2014 at 12:50 pm

        I’m sure that their busy with the baseball team’s parade through town, or maybe the football team. They’ll get to it, I’m sure.

        • tracey marie October 17th, 2014 at 1:23 pm

          or their klan meetings

        • mea_mark October 17th, 2014 at 5:53 pm

          But what year?

  7. R.J. Carter October 17th, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Well now, wait a second…

    What about all those stories we’ve seen just within the past year about someone saying or doing something on Facebook that resulted in them getting fired, because somebody looked up their employer and called them to complain?

    • Anomaly 100 October 17th, 2014 at 2:06 pm

      Difference is, the police did it to this young lady. The irony is that she helps pay their wages with her tax dollars. Once an officer puts that uniform on, they are obligated to act accordingly and not troll Twitter accounts in order to put those they disagree with in the unemployment

      • R.J. Carter October 17th, 2014 at 2:09 pm

        But isn’t he allowed — even obligated — to contact an employer (perhaps even moreso than a civilian)? Does he abrogate those rights by putting on the uniform? Would there be similar hew and cry if a civilian had placed the call to the employer with all the same information?

        • Anomaly 100 October 17th, 2014 at 2:12 pm

          It’s the fact that he’s an employees of the police department. By their own code, it’s not allowed.

          As for leaking information, I could write about the police association’s business manager, Jeff Roorda (mentioned in the post) who is speaking for the cop. Roorda has quite a history himself and it’s not a nice one:-)

          • R.J. Carter October 17th, 2014 at 2:48 pm

            Not having been a cop or knowing one, I’m unfamiliar with their code. That being the case, he should know his stuff — and if he still wanted to do it, I’d expect him to have a civilian buddy make the call.

          • Carla Akins October 17th, 2014 at 3:07 pm

            If a (non-cop) buddy would have called, it would not have the same intimidating effect, which was clearly his intention. He wanted to create a situation where she felt she had no choice, but to stop her activism.