Correction: Reveiw Centers on attorney for officer, not on County Executive Sam Page

Bell wants review of legal issues in flap over Police Chief job

Michael Calhoun
July 28, 2020 - 12:31 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Correcting our earlier story, the St. Louis County Prosecutor's office says it asked the U.S. Attorney to look into the case of the Black police officer who was passed over for the job of Chief, because of concerns over conduct by the officer's attorney, not because of any alleged wrongdoing by County Executive Sam Page or his administration.

Members of the County Council have raised questions about whether Page meddled with the selection process of a new police chief, but a spokesman for Bell says that's not the issue that they asked the U.S. Attorney to review.

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At issue is whether Dobson allegedly sought to obtain a $3.5 million settlement from the County before he filed an EEOC complaint over Doyle not getting the promotion.

Meanwhile, a  group of North St. Louis County leaders want St. Louis County Police Chef Mary Barton, who is white, to be replaced by Doyle, who is Black. They believe he was passed over for the job because of race. 

Page is reported to be heard in a recording saying to Doyle, "This police board will do what I tell them to do, as long as you tell me it’s the right thing to do."

Page says those comments were related to getting Doyle to lead a department review, not about who would be chief.

Councilman Tim Fitch says he believes the recorded comment demonstrates that Page was "interfering with the duties of the police board and trying to exercise control over selection of the police chief, in violation of the Charter."

He requested the County Council launch an ethics inquiry.

On a hot parking lot in Vinta Park on Tuesday, a group including former Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal, spoke out saying that Page has been "using Black people to forward his career in office." 

Dozens of north county politicians and religious leaders were there saying the chief's selection process was tainted by racism.

On Tuesday, responding to Fitch, Council Chair Lisa Clancy revealed that St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell has referred "the matter" to the U.S. Attorney's office.

"My position is that we do not want to interfere with their potential investigation," Clancy wrote.

The U.S. Attorney's office declined to comment on the review or its focus, but Bell's office indicated that "it's not about Page or his office. It's about Jerome Dobson."

Clancy notes that Page made the comment three months after Barton was promoted, which she says makes Fitch's allegation "based on premises that are questionable at best."

Still, she doesn't rule out a Council inquiry in the future, telling Fitch his request is "under advisement" and "action will be taken as deemed necessary" by one of two committees.

KMOX's Kevin Killeen contributed to this report.

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