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Local Father, Attorney Speak Out About A Ferguson Officer's History Of Abusive Policing

Attorney Javad Khazaeli, left, and his client Walter Rice.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio
Attorney Javad Khazaeli, left, and his client Walter Rice.
Attorney Javad Khazaeli, left, and his client Walter Rice.
Credit Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio
Attorney Javad Khazaeli, left, and his client Walter Rice.

In June 2014, Walter Rice was arrested by Ferguson police for allowing his 2- and 4-year-old sons to urinate outdoors at a city park. The married father of four, a Metro bus driver, had never been in trouble with the law and had chosen a secluded place to let the boys relieve themselves. He nevertheless found himself charged with two counts of parental neglect. His wife was also arrested after their older child attempted to film Rice being taken away by police. Ritania Rice was charged with interfering with an officer, failing to signal and three other low-level offenses.

The case drew widespread outrage after the Rices’ attorney, Javad Khazaeli, detailed their treatment in a lawsuit. But to Khazaeli, one of the most shocking facts was that the officer who arrested the couple, Eddie Boyd, remained employed as a Ferguson cop despite a long history of similar allegations of abusive policing. He has been named in numerous other lawsuits and even cited in the U.S. Department of Justice report into the Ferguson Police Department.

Khazaeli joined Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air to talk about the many complaints about Boyd’s behavior over the years ⁠— and the fact he was hired in Ferguson after complaints of misconduct as a St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer. He also revealed that Boyd has recently left the Ferguson Police Department.

In addition to the conversation with Khazaeli, the segment included an interview with Walter Rice, who detailed for the first time the impact that his arrest, and that of his wife, has had on their family.

Listen to the discussion:

NOTE: We reached out for comment to both Boyd (via his attorney) and the Ferguson police. We’ll update this story if we hear back.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan, Alexis Moore and Tonina Saputo. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Sarah Fenske joined St. Louis Public Radio as host of St. Louis on the Air in July 2019. Before that, she spent twenty years in newspapers, working as a reporter, columnist and editor in Cleveland, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and St. Louis. She won the Livingston Award for Young Journalists for her work in Phoenix exposing corruption at the local housing authority. She also won numerous awards for column writing, including multiple first place wins from the Arizona Press Club, the Association of Women in Journalism (the Clarion Awards) and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. From 2015 to July 2019, Sarah was editor in chief of St. Louis' alt-weekly, the Riverfront Times. She and her husband, John, are raising their two young daughters and ill-behaved border terrier in Lafayette Square.