The Springfield Police Officers Association, the union that represents Springfield Police, has issued a statement on Facebook criticizing the media and city leaders after a man attacked Officer Mark Priebe last week, leaving him with serious injuries.

The SPOA lashed out at media coverage of the incident, blaming the media for what happened to Officer Priebe.

“Preliminary investigation seems to indicate that the suspect who destroyed Officer Priebe’s career and life was influenced and motivated by the rhetoric in the national and local media regarding the death of a man in police custody last month in a city 800 miles from Springfield. The SPOA believes in holding individuals accountable for their behavior. However, the influence of media on the population, especially when it comes to their control over the information the population receives and makes decisions upon cannot be ignored. We call on you to hold yourselves accountable, just as you expect us to hold ourselves accountable for what we do.”

The union also criticized the mayor, Springfield City Council, and the city manager for passing a resolution saying the death of George Floyd was wrong, but not making a statement or resolution on what happened to Officer Priebe.

“The SPOA is still waiting for the Mayor, City Council, and City Manager to make a statement or pass a resolution honoring or at least acknowledging the sacrifices of the men listed above. After all, if they can do so for a felon who died, albeit unjustly, in a city 800 miles away surely, they have time to honor the men who uphold the law and were willing to give up life and limb to protect the City of Springfield, Missouri. We would like to let you know, your silence speaks very loudly to the men and women who protect you in your ivory tower in the 800 block of Boonville Avenue.”

The mayor did call Officer Priebe a hero hours after the attack.

Here’s the full post from the SPOA:

Statement from FOP Lodge 22, Springfield Police Officer’s Association Regarding Officer Mark Priebe: (Statement Updated)

The Springfield Police Officer’s Association (SPOA) would like to extend our condolences and well wishes for a speedy recovery to our brother, Mark Priebe.

During the mid-morning of 06/09/2020, Officer Priebe was outside of Police HQ in reference to a disturbance and a male urinating on the building. After the male was confronted by officers, he left but returned shortly and maliciously ran down Officer Priebe with his vehicle.

Officer Priebe’s injuries are extensive and without miraculous intervention it is unlikely he will be able to walk again. He and his family are devout in the Christian faith and appreciate your prayers on their behalf. Donations may be made to Officer Priebe’s family at: SPOAReliefFund.com

Preliminary investigation seems to indicate that the suspect who destroyed Officer Priebe’s career and life was influenced and motivated by the rhetoric in the national and local media regarding the death of a man in police custody last month in a city 800 miles from Springfield. The SPOA believes in holding individuals accountable for their behavior. However, the influence of media on the population, especially when it comes to their control over the information the population receives and makes decisions upon cannot be ignored. We call on you to hold yourselves accountable, just as you expect us to hold ourselves accountable for what we do.

Recent local examples of biased and inflammatory reporting:
It was brought to our attention that the KY3 report mentioning the traffic stop data in our original statement was a new report from the AG’s office released just prior to the protest. In error, we believed it was from the previous year’s report. We apologize and have corrected this post to reflect that. We aren’t too proud to admit when we are wrong. However, in an attempt to remain consistent, KY3’s article downplaying the suspect of the assault on Officer Priebe as a “Homeless man”, would be another example. The SPOA members read your website and we plan to hold you accountable when you purposely attempt to stir up strife in the city we love and serve.

During the incident that left Officer Priebe in critical condition in the hospital, Steve Pokin, of the Springfield News-Leader led with an initial headline indicating only that a man had been shot in front of Police Headquarters. Mr. Pokin, who touts himself as “The Answer Man,” was across the street from the incident and if he was not already aware, he surely could have easily gained such information before sending out inflammatory headlines. We at the SPOA believe “The Answer Man” had more answers than he let on when he chose to be dishonest and misleading in the hopes of getting “clicks” on his company’s website because clicks get him paid. Mr. Pokin knew a more appropriate headline would have read “Officer Struck by Vehicle at Police Headquarters.” Mr. Pokin, SPOA members read the News-Leader and we plan to hold you and your paper accountable for attempting to stir up strife in the city we love and protect and lay our lives down for. If you want to be Springfield’s “Answer Man” then give Springfield accurate information in your headlines instead of sending out “click bait” hoping to get picked up on the national news wire.

These are just recent examples. Examples that led to actions like that of the man who ran down Officer Priebe. The man who was infamously quoted as saying “you guys knew you had this coming” as he was taken into custody by Officer Priebe’s brother’s and sister’s in blue as Officer Priebe lay gasping for breath, unable to move his legs merely feet away.

Local media, we will call you out from now on when you purposely do things to make our community less peaceful and less safe. You have a duty to be honest, and so do we. We intend to hold you to the high moral standards we hold ourselves to, and that you are quick to pounce on when any officer, anywhere in the country fails that standard. This is your notice.

Innocent people are being harmed. Our members have taken an oath to uphold the laws which are in place to protect the innocent from the law breakers. This often puts our members lives in jeopardy. They do it anyway. We are very blessed to have the overwhelming support of our community. We believe this is because our members are consistently doing their jobs the right way, and when one of us does not, we hold that member accountable. We want to thank the Springfield community, and we want you to know we see you, and we will continue to happily serve and protect you. We will do this for the honor of men and women like Officer Priebe, Officer Walsh, and Officer Overton who are the officers of Springfield who this year have given their lives and had their lives irreversibly altered while upholding their oath to protect this fair city.

We realize everyone has an opinion. We also realize that no matter what we say and do, there are members of our community, and especially people from outside our community who don’t like us. We’re ok with that. The world of social media often makes us believe our opinions matter more than they actually do because we get a bigger audience. Us at the SPOA included. A lie can be perpetrated across the globe at warp speed while the truth is still getting its pants on.

Here at the SPOA, we will continue to post opinions and facts that matter to OUR members and OUR community. We represent SPRINGFIELD POLICE OFFICERS who serve and protect the CITY OF SPRINGFIELD, MISSOURI. If you are not a part of one of those groups, please know that we may respectfully decide to ignore you and your opinion; especially if it is derogatory or inflammatory.

The SPOA is still waiting for the Mayor, City Council, and City Manager to make a statement or pass a resolution honoring or at least acknowledging the sacrifices of the men listed above. After all, if they can do so for a felon who died, albeit unjustly, in a city 800 miles away surely, they have time to honor the men who uphold the law and were willing to give up life and limb to protect the City of Springfield, Missouri. We would like to let you know, your silence speaks very loudly to the men and women who protect you in your ivory tower in the 800 block of Boonville Avenue.

The SPOA membership is very diverse- We have white, black, Asian, Hispanic, male, female, gay, lesbian, young and old members. Our members come from a diverse background of faith groups, and some of no faith at all. We are also an open shop union, so we also represent officers who choose not to pay dues and be SPOA members in our collective bargaining sessions with the City of Springfield. We are the epitome of diversity and inclusivity.

Our members go out, day and night, and protect and serve EVERY member of OUR community. They do this 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, and they do it almost flawlessly. You won’t find our level of integrity anywhere else. Not in the politicians who pass the laws we enforce and use us as pawns every election cycle, and not in the media who like to use us to increase their circulation at the cost of the safety of our community.

We LOVE our city, and our city has always shown us the love back. We appreciate this. We refuse to allow the actions of four officers who have already been stripped of the honor of carrying a shield, in a city 800 miles away, change how we view and treat OUR city. We love you Springfield, and we will be here for you.
For the sacred honor of all who have worn the badge and upheld their oath to protect our community.