One of the police officers tasked with keeping security in riot-torn Ferguson, Missouri has been placed on "administrative leave" after a video circulated in which he appears to rant about Muslims and Barack Obama – and boasts about killing people.
Officer Dan Page, who during the Ferguson unrest was filmed pushing CNN TV reporter Don Lemon and other protesters, was giving a speech to the St. Louis/St. Charles chapter of the Oath Keepers, which according to its website is "a non-partisan association of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders who pledge to fulfill the oath all military and police take to 'defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.'"
In his talk, which apparently took place on 22 April and was uploaded soon after, Page makes a number of extraordinary boasts, including ones about his being a multiple-killer.
"I personally believe the Lord Jesus Christ is my saviour, but I'm also a killer," he is seen saying. "I've killed a lot and, if I need to, I will kill a whole bunch more. If you don't want to get killed, don't show up in front of me."
In the speech Page, a former Vietnam veteran and military reservist, rails about black people being "little perverts", homosexuals, and the "four sodomites on the Supreme Court." He tells someone in the audience: "Policemen are very cynical. I know I am. I don't trust anybody. I hate everybody. I hate y'all, too. I hate everybody. I'm into diversity – I kill everybody. I don't care."
The head of the St. Louis County police department. Jon Belmar. told CNN the video was bizarre and found the boasts about killing particularly disturbing: "As a police chief, that's something I'm not going to be able to endure."
A psychiatric evaluation of Officer Page will now take place.
Police in Ferguson have been strongly criticised for the shooting of Michael Brown which sparked the riots, but the events have also seen rising concern over the increasing militarisation of police.
Under the "1033 program" hundreds of millions of dollars of surplus military equipment from Iraq and Afghanistan has been passed on to local police forces across the US including grenade-launchers and armoured vehicles.