St. Louis County Cops Accused of Unauthorized, Possibly Politically Motivated Criminal Background Checks

all your database are belong to themTwo St. Louis county police
officers who were assigned to the detail of County Executive
Charles Dooley have had their access to a criminal database
suspended while an investigation over whether they were running
unauthorized background checks,
to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The officers
are specifically accused of running such a check on a former
candidate for the police board, a body that’s theoretically
supposed to supervise officers. The Dispatch

Questions first arose in October when Dooley’s chief of
staff, Garry Earls, announced to the county council that a criminal
background check into former police board candidate David Spence
had come back clean, County Chief Tim Fitch said.

Fitch said he had questioned how the county administration would
know that information because he didn’t believe it was his
officers’ place to run the checks.

“I thought it was inappropriate because we answer to police board
members and we should not be doing any background checks on our own
supervisors,” he said.

Further investigation revealed that at least one of the two
officers assigned to Dooley’s detail had run Spence’s name
unbeknownst to Fitch, he said.

“That’s when we asked ourselves, ‘Who else is he running?’ ” Fitch

Fitch insisted he’s not claiming the elected official Dooley did
anything wrong, and that the investigation is focused on whether
the two officers did. He said, however, that he was also interested
in who may have asked them to run the checks (Dooley? duh?).
 As part of Dooley’s detail, they were stationed in the office
of the county executive. Access to the criminal database was meant
to assess threats against the county executive, and Fitch noted
that all searches are only illegal if done for “criminal justice

File this one as just one more reason you should be worried
about expansive government databases even if you
think you have nothing to hide

from Hit & Run

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