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'We're going to move forward' | St. Louis County police chief addresses accusations of perjury by officers

Chief Jon Belmar gave his first interviews Tuesday after a $20 million lawsuit against the St. Louis County Police Department.

CLAYTON, Mo. — 5 On Your Side sat down for a one-on-one interview with St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar on Tuesday.

In the in the interview, Belmar said he has no plans to step down as some have called for after a $20 million verdict against his department in a discrimination lawsuit. 

"When you're in the middle of crisis such as this I don't think the coach walks out at halftime," Belmar said. "There's things, perhaps, we could have done better. Let's recognize what those are and let's lead this team through this issue...we owe that to the people out there that we protect and serve." 

In October, a jury sided with a St. Louis County police sergeant who said he was told to 'tone down his gayness,' passed over for promotion several times because he is gay, and retaliated against when he filed a complaint.

"It's probably inappropriate to talk in specificity about the verdict right now," said Belmar. "If we take a look and understand that a jury disagreed with some of the decisions that were made on the police department then that is a valid point that we should consider...we, in fact, must consider." 

"We're going to move forward. I value all members of the police department and that would be my message to anybody on the police department," said Belmar. 

After the verdict the Board of Police Commissioners, a five member board with the power to hire and fire the county police chief, announced an external review of the department.

"I think that's critically important we do that. We're not strangers things such as that," Belmar said of the planned review. 

Aside from the issues of discrimination raised in Sgt. Keith Wildhaber's lawsuit, there are now allegations that county police officers may have committed perjury during the trial when testifying on behalf of the county against Wildhaber's claims. 

When he was asked if he was concerned with those allegations Belmar said, "critically."

The 'absolute foundation' of serving and protecting, Belmar said, "has to do with character, integrity, and truthfulness."

"Those issues are going to be looked at. I think it's appropriate that that happens."

Full interview: 

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