It is with deep sadness we share the news of the passing of Roger L. Goldman, a tireless champion for justice whose work will be remembered and continued. We send our condolences to his family, colleagues and uplift the work he committed himself to.
– The MassPoliceReform.org Editors[Obituary via Berger Memorial Chapel]
Funeral services for Roger L. Goldman, a beloved St. Louis University law professor and a national leader in police reform, will be held August 1, 2023 at 10:00 am at Central Reform Congregation, 5020 Waterman Boulevard at Kingshighway. Please see below for Live Stream details. The interment will be private.
Professor Goldman, 82, died while surrounded by his family on July 29, 2023 after a long illness.
Professor Goldman’s police-related crusade began in 1980 when he learned of the killing of an unarmed man by a Bridgeton Terrace policeman. Remembering that the same officer had been fired three years earlier by Maplewood police after being accused of prisoner abuse, he wondered how this man could have landed another police job a few miles away.
The question led him to discover that few legal mechanisms anywhere prevented police fired from one job from moving to another — “wandering cops.” He proposed a solution: States should write laws strengthening their ability to revoke the licenses of police who had committed significant misconduct – just as states already had for many other professions.
Through law review articles, conference talks, and other means, Roger advocated for license-related reforms for more than 40 years. Recognized as the nation’s foremost expert on police licensure, he was often quoted in The New York Times and other prominent newspapers and seen on PBS News Hour and other news programs.
His persistence, calm persuasion, and lack of egotism paid off, with 10 states adopting the kind of legislation he advocated and dozens more strengthening existing laws.
A revered teacher at SLU Law School, Roger was best known for his courses in Constitutional law and was named teacher of the year three times. He also co-authored three award-winning books on legal subjects and served twice as Associate Dean and once as Interim Dean. In 2017, the law school inducted him into its Order of the Fleur de Lis, the school’s highest honor.
From 1974 to 1976 Roger also served as president of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri; in 1984 as the first president of Central Reform Congregation, which he also helped found; and in 1991 as president of Community School.
Astonishingly, he did all this without breaking a sweat. Roger’s default expression was a smile, and he found humor everywhere.
The son of Dr. Alfred and Miriam Goldman, Roger graduated from John Burroughs School, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Surviving are his wife, Stephanie Riven; two sons, Josh (Sarah) of St. Louis and Sam, of San Francisco; two grandchildren, Jacob and Lily, of St. Louis; a brother, Tom (Barbara Kosnar), of Mill Valley, CA.; and innumerable friends and admirers. Another brother, Alan, of Raleigh, NC, predeceased him.
Memorial contributions may be made to the ACLU of Missouri, the Central Reform Congregation Music Fund, SLU Law School, or the organization of your choice.