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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Black Eye for Police Board

ST. LOUIS (CN) - A police board member's phone call to try to spring his nephew from jail has created another controversy for the St. Louis City Police Department.

Vincent J. Bommarito, a city police commissioner, acknowledged to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he had called a police sergeant and asked for his nephew's release from jail Saturday evening.

The nephew, who was arrested that day for suspicion of drunk driving, apparently was released without being charged. Police allegedly dropped him off at Bommarito's restaurant.

Police Chief Dan Isom condemned Bommarito's actions in a letter to the police board president. Isom wrote that the details suggest factual inconsistency and a coverup. Isom said it wasn't the first time Bommarito had tried to use his influence to help an arrested family member, according to the Post-Dispatch.

It's another black eye for a police department already mired in scandal. Several police officers were reprimanded and demoted for misusing 2006 World Series tickets seized from scalpers, and a 2008 towing scandal led to the resignation of former Police Chief Joe Mokwa.

The scandals have prompted Missouri lawmakers to consider a measure that would switch control of the department back to the city. Currently, four of the five members of the police board are appointed by the governor; the fifth is the mayor of St. Louis.

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