The continuing protests over a judge’s decision to acquit former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley of murder returned to the Galleria mall on Saturday, where police ended the demonstration and made 22 arrests.
Many in St. Louis are outraged that St. Louis Circuit Judge Timothy Wilson found Stockley, who is white, not guilty in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith, who was black. Protesters marched through the mall to declare that there would be no business as usual until the St. Louis region reformed its criminal justice system.
But not long after the protest began, Richmond Heights police ordered the protesters to leave. According to police, someone threw a garbage can near the bottom of an escalator and protesters blocked the escalator. Richmond Heights officers called St. Louis County police for assistance, and after they arrived officers tackled at least two people.
Later in the evening, a crowd of about 150 people gathered outside the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton to wait for the 22 people to be released. Many in the crowd were angry at what they considered excessive force by police officers who made the arrests.
Morgan Patterson Gill, 22, was among them. She had gone to the Galleria to get something to eat, and saw police make some of the arrests.
“It was an absolutely overreaction,” Gill said. She said she saw officers arrest a woman who was simply going to work at the mall because the woman walked by police lines.
Gill also said a police officer threatened and pushed her.
“I’ve never had somebody put their hands on me in the way that this man did,” she said. “I’ve never had somebody put a weapon in my face the way that this man did. I’ve never seen a police officer or anyone get ready to mace people. It was totally uncalled for.”
Gill said police did not tell those they took into custody why they were being arrested. A spokesman for the St. Louis County police said officers on scene gave plenty of warning before moving in and making arrests.
Ian Barczewski, 29 ,was at the jail to find out what happened to his friend, 35-year-old Zach Becker. Becker was at the mall shopping for a suitcase when police arrested him, Barczewski said.
Barczewski and other friends were trying to get medication to Becker, who recently had a kidney transplant.
“It’s been a hellish day,” Barczewski said. He said the events of the day made him “very offended that I have friends who now know the situation and they’re still defending the cops. I have no sympathy for the cops and this just cements that.”
After police shut down a protest in the Galleria mall and arrested 22 people, demonstrators went to the Buzz Westfall Justice Center in Clayton and later to the Target in the Brentwood Promenade.
St Louis Police GOES WILD . . . Arrest EVERYONE Inside The Galleria Mall . . . Because They Didn't Approve Of PEACEFUL PROTEST Against Brutality!! (Out Of Control)
Posted by Mediatakeout on Sunday, 24 September 2017