St. Louis Rams spokesman Artis Twyman has told CNN that the team “did not apologize” to local law enforcement for players making the “Hands up, don’t shoot” gesture, despite St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar announcing that the organization had done just that on Monday, following the fallout over the weekend.
Rams executive Kevin Demoff also denied any such apology, insisting, “In none of these conversations did I apologize for our players’ actions … 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,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
This has put the Rams and local law enforcement in a bit of a battle of words, with the county Police Department tweeting, “Apology: ‘expression of regret for not being able to do something’ @kdemoff: ‘I regretted any offense their officers may have taken.’”
The Police Department and the team clashed over the weekend after five players walked out onto the field Sunday, making the “Hands up, don’t shoot” gesture that has become a sign of solidarity with Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was shot dead by former Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson.
The story got more complicated after Belmar announced Monday that the team had apologized to law enforcement for the players’ acts, which the department had blasted as “tasteless, offensive and inflammatory” in light of the grand jury decision not to indict Wilson in Brown’s death.
“Demoff clearly regretted that any members of the Ram's [sic] organization would act in a way that minimized the outstanding work that police officers and departments carry out each and every day,” Belmar said in an email to the department, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. “My impression of the call was that it was heartfelt and I assured him that I would share it with my staff.”
The Rams followed up with a statement saying that they had had “positive discussions” with St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson as well as with Belmar.
“What has transpired over the past four months is a tragedy that has impacted our entire community. Together we are beginning a healing process that will require time, energy and honest dialogue. The Rams will continue to build on what have always been strong and valued relationships with local law enforcement and the greater St. Louis community as we come together to help heal our region,” the statement read.
Read more at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.