St. Louis: Pols call for investigation into arrests at suburban mall – Police: Demonstrators got out of hand

In a Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 photo, police make several arrests of people protesting the Sept. 15 acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley in the death of a black man, at the St. Louis Galleria. (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

By JIM SALTER,  Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (AP) 09/26 — Several elected officials and faith leaders on Monday called for an investigation into the way police arrested and incarcerated protesters at a suburban St. Louis mall, with many referring to the altercation as a “police riot.”

Police from both agencies involved in the arrests defended officers’ actions, saying demonstrators got out of hand Saturday at the St. Louis Galleria in Richmond Heights, Missouri, and officers had no choice but to take some of them to the ground.

The protest was among many in St. Louis and its suburbs since a judge ruled in mid-September that former police officer Jason Stockley was not guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith, a black suspect. Nearly 200 people have been arrested since the Sept. 15 ruling.

Among them were 22 people arrested at the Galleria.

“A police riot broke out, but let me be clear — it was terrorism,” the Rev. Karen Anderson of Ward Chapel AME Church in Florissant said at a news conference involving about three dozen people, including pastors, a rabbi and state lawmakers.

She and several other speakers urged an investigation of the way police are handling protesters, through the U.S. Department of Justice, the Missouri Legislature or some other body.

Also Monday, Missouri Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley said he would hire an independent counsel to investigate claims that evidence was withheld in a federal civil rights lawsuit over Smith’s shooting.

Albert Watkins, an attorney for Smith’s fiancée and daughter, said the attorney general’s office during that lawsuit failed to provide DNA evidence found on a gun in Smith’s car or additional video footage that was later used in the criminal case against Stockley. Watkins said he’s not sure who’s at fault for withholding that evidence, but that the lawsuit consequently was “horribly compromised in a fashion that truly compromises the integrity of our justice system.”

As for the Galleria protest, those arrested included a 13-year-old boy and the Rev. Kayla Frye of St. Peter AME Church in St. Louis. Frye did not participate in Monday’s news conference, which was held at her church.

She and six other protesters were charged with rioting and resisting arrest after Saturday’s demonstration. Frye was also charged with assault for allegedly jumping on the back of a police officer. The other 15 people arrested were referred to Richmond Heights municipal court for charges.

The protest began with about 150 people marching through the upscale mall. Things took a turn when protesters blocked an escalator and sought to go the second floor, against the wishes of mall management, police said.

Someone threw a trash can at officers. Richmond Heights Capt. Gerry Rohr used a bullhorn to order the crowd to disperse. He said he issued the same warning two more times over several minutes as St. Louis County police arrived to assist.

Marjorie Theodore, who was at the protest, told reporters Monday that there was so much noise Saturday that she couldn’t make out what was said over the bullhorn. Her 33-year-old son was among those arrested.

A St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer took pictures showing Frye on the back of a St. Louis County officer as he appeared to be making an arrest. Another picture showed Frye being arrested. Some said the second photo showed her being choked by an officer.

Rohr and St. Louis County police spokesman Shawn McGuire deny Frye was choked. They said the photo showed a Richmond Heights officer pulling her away from the county officer she had jumped on, a man who is still off work with a back injury that resulted, McGuire said.

“When she jumps on the back of a police officer while affecting an arrest, that’s an assault,” McGuire said.

Rohr said the photo was misleading.

“She was not placed in a chokehold,” Rohr said. “That’s burst photography. I guarantee the officer was trying to push that woman away and get her under control.”

Police tactics also were questioned on Sept. 17 in St. Louis, when more than 120 people were arrested after windows were broken at several businesses. Some of those arrested for “failure to disperse” were just onlookers, including a Post-Dispatch journalist, an Air Force officer and an undercover police officer, the Post-Dispatch reported.


Associated Press writer Summer Ballentine contributed to this report from Jefferson City, Missouri.

Posted in: Arrests, Attacks on Police, Black Lives Matter, Civilian Complaints, Officer Safety, Police, Police Brutality/Abuse of Authority, Police Officers Injured, Politics, Protests/Civil Unrest, Racial Issues, Use of Force

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

5 × one =

Terms of Use for Posting Comments

Terms of Use

This site (the “Site”) is operated and maintained by Law Enforcement Education Foundation, Corporation (“Company”). Throughout the Site, the terms “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Company.  The words “user,” “you” and “your” as used herein refer to you.

Please read these terms and conditions of use (“Terms of Use”) carefully before contributing content. If you do not agree to these Terms of Use, please do not contribute content. Your use of the Site is subject to the Terms and Conditions found here .

By contributing content to the Site, you represent and warrant that you are at least eighteen (18) years old and that you have read and understand these Terms of Use and any amendments thereto and agree to be bound by them. If you are not at least eighteen (18) years old or you do not agree and accept these Terms of Use, you are prohibited from contributing content.

From time to time, we may permit users to submit content to the Site.  You hereby acknowledge and agree that by submitting remarks, comments, suggestions, ideas, graphics, feedback, edits, concepts, comments, photographs, illustrations and other materials (other than personal information and/or registration information) through the Site (individually and collectively, “Submissions”), you (i) grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, transferable, irrevocable and fully sub-licensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, distribute, publish, create derivative works from and publicly display and perform such Submissions throughout the world in any media, now known or hereafter created, without attribution to you; (ii) grant us the right to pursue at law any person or entity that violates your and/or our rights in your Submissions; and (iii) forever waive any and all of your rights, including but not limited to moral rights, if any, in and to your Submissions, including, without limitation, any all rights or requirements of attribution or identification of you as the author of the Submission or any derivative thereof.  We reserve the right to remove any of your Submissions from the Site, in whole or in part, without notice to you, for any reason or no reason.

Submissions are made voluntarily. Any submissions which include personally identifiable information are subject to our Privacy Policy found here .  You may not upload or otherwise publish content on the Site that (i) is confidential to you or any third party; (ii) is untrue, inaccurate, false or other than an original work of your authorship; (iii) that relates to or impersonates any other person; (iv) violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property rights of any person or entity; (v) contains any content, personally identifiable information or other information, or materials of any kind that relate or refer to any other person or entity other than the provider of the products, goods or services to which the Submission relates; or (vi) violates any law, or in any manner infringes or interferes with the rights of others, including but not limited to the use of names, information, or materials that (A) libel, defame, or invade the privacy of any third party, (B) are obscene or pornographic, (C) are harmful, threatening, offensive, abusive, harassing, vulgar, false or inaccurate, racially, sexually, ethnically or are otherwise objectionable or otherwise contrary to the laws of any place where such Submissions may be accessed; (D) constitute personal attacks on other individuals; (E) promote criminal, immoral or illegal activity; (F) promote or advertise any person, product or service or solicit funds; or (G) are deemed confidential by any contract or policy.

You are solely responsible for any Submissions you make and their accuracy. We take no responsibility and assume no liability for any Submissions posted by you or any third party.

Unless approved by us in writing in advance, you agree not to: (i) provide or create a link to the Site; or (ii) create any frames at any other sites pertaining to any of the content located on the Site.

We reserve the right, in our discretion, to update, change or replace any part of these Terms of Use for Posting Comments by posting updates and/or changes to our Site.  It is your responsibility to check this page periodically for changes.  Your continued use of, and/or access to the Site, following the posting of any changes to these Terms of Use for Posting Comments, constitutes your acceptance of those changes.