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Saturday, June 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Ferguson Stresses Still Taking a Toll

ST. LOUIS (CN) - A former reserve police officer who crashed his car into a house while driving drunk over the weekend blames his drinking problems on the Ferguson protests.

Jacob Klaus quit the St. Ann police force Tuesday. St. Ann is a few miles from Ferguson, in north St. Louis County.

Klaus, 22, was arrested Saturday night on suspicion of drunk driving. He refused to take a breath test after crashing into a house in unincorporated St. Louis County. No one was hurt in the crash and Klaus was not on duty at the time.

St. Ann Police Chief Aaron Jimenez said Klaus told him he had a drinking problem that started after working shifts in Ferguson during the height of the protests. Jimenez said the stresses of Ferguson, where officers were berated and felt under constant threat by protesters, had taken its toll.

"That's what he said, and we had zero problem with him before," Jimenez told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "He was not a drinker and had no substance abuse when he took the lie detector test" before being hired.

Klaus was a reserve officer, meaning he worked part time for St. Ann and was paid for certain tasks. He worked on patrol with no pay in hopes of being hired full-time.

In related Ferguson news, one of two dozen journalists arrested during the protests had a hearing in municipal court Tuesday.

Mary Moore, a St. Louis-based videographer, was arrested on Oct. 3 last year. Moore, whose videos have been used by The Associated Press and various TV networks, says she was simply documenting the protest and was not taking part in it.

Moore wants her reputation and criminal record cleared. There was no word as to the hearing's outcome as of press time.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation says 19 journalists were arrested in Ferguson in August, one in September, two in October and two in November. The Foundation claims there is ample evidence showing that most of those journalists were simply trying to do their jobs when they were arrested.

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