St. Louis mayor faces fresh fallout from police group after disclosure of thousands of personal text messages –

ST. LOUIS — The Ethical Society of Police on Friday responded to recently disclosed text messages in which St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones criticized the organization.
Earlier this week, the city provided thousands of text messages from Jones’ personal cell phone under an open records request. 
The ESOP, an organization made up of primarily Black police officers in the city, endorsed Jones for office in 2021, but has since had a falling out with the mayor during negotiations over police oversight and an attempted state takeover of the police department. 
In a group chat with her father–former city comptroller Virvus Jones–and Richard Callow, her political adviser, the mayor sent them a link on May 14 to a 5 On Your Side report detailing how she outmaneuvered police unions to defeat the state takeover. The ESOP had supported state control.
Callow replied, “Hahaha. The boys picked the wrong mayor to fight.”
The mayor responded, “And ESOP still won’t shut the f— up!”
“They sold out,” Callow added. 
The ESOP said in a statement that while it was used to facing criticism and respected others’ right to disagree, “we don’t take well to disrespect.
“The Ethical Society of Police won’t be ‘shut up’ because that is abandoning those we serve,” the statement added.
In addition to cleaning up the fallout from the release of the mayor’s text messages, her aides are also taking steps to remove them from public view. 
The records were initially released through a government transparency portal after 5 On Your Side and the St. Louis Business Journal filed separate Sunshine Act requests in May seeking her communications pertaining to the political appointment process for a new circuit attorney. 
City attorneys who regularly manage records requests gather the relevant materials for review and redaction before releasing them for public inspection. 
In this case, someone gathered all of the mayor’s text messages with her father and Callow dating back to January, long before Gardner announced her resignation, and dumped them into a 135-page PDF document.
Another 37-page PDF document contained messages with billionaire businessman David Steward, the chairman and founder of World Wide Technology.
Both documents were released with limited redactions. 
Two days later, someone removed the PDFs from the city website and replaced them with shorter, redacted versions. 
On Friday afternoon, Jones took ownership of her comments and said the release of that many personal text messages, including several vulgar insults of her colleagues in city government, was an accident. 
“I’ve never been one to hide my feelings,” Jones said. “Through an honest mistake, text messages between my family and close friends were released to the public.
“Sometimes my words can be terse, and my text messages speak for themselves. I understand the impact of some of my comments, and will contact the relevant parties to ensure productive dialogue moving forward.”
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