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Officer who pointed rifle at Ferguson protester suspended indefinitely

Police officer who pointed assault rifle at #Ferguson protester is suspended indefinitely

A police officer who pointed his assault rifle at a demonstrator in Ferguson, Mo., and threatened to shoot has been suspended indefinitely, authorities said Wednesday.

The unidentified officer from the St. Ann Police Department pointed his weapon after he became involved in an argument Tuesday night with the protester, according to Officer Brian Schellman, a spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department.

Schellman said a supervising officer intervened, ordered the officer to lower his weapon and took him away from the area.

"The unified command strongly feel these actions are inappropriate, and not indicative of the officers who have worked daily, to keep the peace," according to a statement from the St. Louis County Police Department.

A video of the incident, which the Missouri chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says is authentic, shows the officer pointing his rifle in several directions and shouting, "I'll ... kill you!" using an expletive, in response to comments made by a protester.

Calls to St. Ann police officials seeking comment were not immediately returned.

Tension has been high in Ferguson since Aug. 9, when Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old black man, Michael Brown.

Police have said Brown attacked the officer, but witnesses have said Brown was walking away with his hands up when he was shot six times.

The shooting has touched off days of racial unrest that have led to dozens of arrests and several shootings, while clouds of tear gas and images of police in riot gear have become commonplace in the town.

Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for breaking news.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

UPDATES

6:00 p.m.: This story updated with information gleaned from a video of the incident.

This post published at 4:04 p.m.

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