Lawsuit claims ex-Ballwin police chief violated privacy rights

BALLWIN, Mo. — The City of Ballwin and its former police chief are facing a class action lawsuit. The former chief was fired late last year under a cloud of mystery. 

The claims are laid out in a 12-page lawsuit, according to the Post-Dispatch. The suit alleges wrongdoing by former Ballwin Police Chief Doug Schaeffler that could have resulted in people’s privacy rights being violated.

He was fired last December in a closed-door meeting without any kind of explanation from city leaders. Now comes a class action lawsuit against Schaeffler and the City of Ballwin.

The Post reports that over a four-year period starting in 2020, Schaeffler ran more than one thousand names through the Regional Justice Information System, also known as REJIS. Many law enforcement agencies in the St. Louis area use that database. It tracks all kinds of personal information, from criminal histories to driver’s license details.

The Post reports that it’s a misdemeanor for a police officer to use REJIS without a proper law enforcement purpose and that former Chief Schaeffler’s fellow Ballwin officers determined that hundreds of his searches were very questionable.

The suit alleges that the people searched included those who lived or worked in Ballwin or merely spoke at a Ballwin public meeting.

Clayton attorney Mark Pedroli filed the suit seeking financial compensation for hundreds of residents who may have had their privacy rights violated.

The lead plaintiff in the suit is Kevin Roach, a former alderman in Ballwin who was a frequent critic of the mayor.

Schaeffler is already suing over his December firing. Neither Schaeffler nor Ballwin City officials have responded to the new class action suit.


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Category: General News