Spirit of St. Louis – Pick Your Charity, Pick Your Car

Belmar reprimanded over leniency request for ally’s nephew in drug case

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) - The St. Louis County police chief has been censured over a request to a federal judge seeking leniency for a political ally's nephew in a drug conspiracy case.

The county Board of Police Commissioners voted Wednesday to reprimand Chief Jon Belmar. Belmar led St. Louis County's response to the fatal Ferguson police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014 before Missouri's governor installed the Highway Patrol as the lead law enforcement agency following protester complaints.

The reprimand Wednesday is related to letters Belmar and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger wrote supporting 27-year-old Michael Saracino II. Belmar's letter angered police union leaders and some officers who worked on the marijuana distribution case.

Saracino's uncle John resigned as a Stenger aide over fallout from the letters. His nephew received a two-year sentence.